Hans Wilhelm's Totally Bored Boris!
Book review by Dimitrios Sokolakis
A children's book about dealing with boredom
If you need to define boredom, you’ll probably find the right words within this funny, well written and beautifully illustrated story by Hans Wilhelm.
Boredom is when there are lots of things you don’t want to do, but nothing that you really want to do.
The story is about a little bear named Boris who has a day exactly like this. He can’t think of anything to do, although his family and friends do their best to provide him with ideas on various activities. He doesn’t feel like fishing, cooking or playing in his room or his tree house, so he just stays up in the tree doing nothing.
The result: Boris stands apart, watching everyone else having a good time doing creative things. His father is busy painting; his mom, along with his sister, is baking cookies. Later, his sister and friends gather to build a castle using cardboard; they are going to have a party (oh, excuse me - a royal feast) since his sister is going to be the princess and, as everyone knows, a princess is always giving royal feasts, not parties!
Boris finds no meaning in building a castle with cardboard; it’s a boring idea after all! In his mind, he knows a better use for cardboard is to make a totally cool spaceship with rockets, aerials and lots of other stuff.
A royal feast? Ridiculous.
Nevertheless, he keeps watching the gathering from his tree house: cheerful friends paste cutouts and buttons on the castle and paint pictures; his sister is dressing up in their mom’s clothes to look like a princess; freshly baked cookies and refreshing juice are being set out on the table for eventual consumption.
If this were Boris's party, he would dress up as a spaceman or an alien. That would be more interesting, and everyone would have a better time. But, well, he is too bored to bother interfering.
All the happy chatter and laughter really annoy naughty little Boris, who finds that he just can't stand watching others having fun. How dare people not pay attention to him or take note of how bored he is?
It's not right, so he decides he'll ruin everything; he has a plan that involves some twigs and his trumpet. But his attempt to bother others turns out very differently than he had expected. Boris learns that he can easily say farewell to boredom by doing a simple thing: participating. Just saying yes to being part of the group brings happiness, love, good time and, cookies!
Totally Bored Boris strengths:
The story is interesting, taking on a familiar topic not often dealt with in children's books. If this story had a moral, it would be to seize the day.
The illustrations are really stimulating for 5 to 8 years old (boys and girls). Pages designed to-the-point, showing funny characters with great colors.
Wilhelm’s brand name is, of course, one the book’s advantages; over forty two million books in print say something to everyone.
Room for improvement
The book is really good; in fact, I would actually ask the author to give us a few more pages, since I think the book would benefit from an extra scene after the castle party and before the masterful ending.
Totally bored Boris! at Amazon.
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