Reminiscent of John Burningham’s 1977 Come away from the water, Shirley in which the world inhabited by her cautious and unimaginative parents in their deckchairs on the beach contrasts with the adventurous world of their daughter, Shirley (who battles with pirates), Anthony Browne’s Me and You is dedicated: ‘For all the underdogs’. As ever in Browne-land, the polemic is visually conveyed and his narrative is all the more moving for its subtle understatement.
A riff on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Me and You is narrated in the first person by little boy bear on the recto page. Mummy and Daddy Bear pay no attention to their son and their own relationship seems to be a distant one. Meanwhile on the verso page and in a sepia palette, Goldilocks’s story is narrated in a sequence of action frames as, lost, she samples the bears’ porridge, chairs and beds. At the end she is reunited with her mother in a passionate hug that is full of warmth. Can a bear be an underdog? In this poignant story he is.