1,473 Pages


Whatever Next! is a picture book, written by Jill Murphy, and published in 1983.

One night Baby Bear was about to go to bed when he looked out of the window. And he saw the moon. Suddenly he decided that he wanted to go to the moon. But he had a problem, as his mother told him. "You need a rocket first." And that was the beginning of Baby Bear's wonderful adventure.

Whatever Next! tells us the magical story about Baby Bear and his adventure to the moon just before bath time one evening. Baby Bear gazes at the moon and decides that he would like to go to the moon, just as Mrs Bear is calling him for a bath. Baby Bear finds a rocket, a space helmet and some space boots and sets out on his journey. On his way, Baby Bear makes friends with an owl and an aeroplane full of passengers who wave at Baby Bear. Baby Bear and the owl enjoy a picnic on the moon then set off back for Baby Bears’ bath. Baby Bear made the long journey back, through the rain, ready to get in his bath. He gets back, tells Mrs Bear of his adventure but she doesn't quite believe him.

Reader's Reviews


Whatever Next! Is the second instalment from Jill Murphy about the wonderful adventures of the Bear family. The story centres on Baby Bear and his adventure to the moon, just before bath time! The book is beautifully written and is a great story for children and adults! The illustrations are magnificent which add to the charm, fun and great sense of humour to make this a classic. This is a great book for KS1 and 2 children because of its easy to read nature, enchanting story, its colourful and fantastic illustrations and the fun it will bring from being read aloud. An absolute must have!


As stated above, “Whatever Next!” is a fictional picture book written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. The author introduces us to the second instalment of adventures in the bear family that were introduced to us in her previous book “Peace at Last”. “Whatever Next!” involves Baby bear before bath time asking Mrs Bear whether he can go to the moon. Mrs Bear replies with “You would need to find a rocket first” and with this in mind Baby bear uses items around the house in order to make a rocket and prepare for his adventure to the moon.

The story is very simple and easy to follow making it a perfect choice for before bedtime or for a quick story in the classroom. The language used means it would be good for children to read along with a teacher or to read it themselves. It is illustrated with many pictures in order to engage early readers and could be used for Key stage 1 or 2 depending on how it is used. It allows children to use their imagination and follow Baby bear’s adventure to the moon, discovering how household items could be seen as something else.

The way in which the book is written means it would be good for children who are learning sequencing techniques, as the story follows a logical trail as to what Baby bear believes is the first thing to prepare and so on, until he has all the items he needs. I also believe it would be a great book to start a topic involving space and could be used in a variety of subjects such as art by allowing the children to design and create a rocket themselves, literacy, writing a letter home from the moon and science, to introduce space. Although, there are not many adjectives or descriptive words, this could add to children using their imagination and becoming creative with words.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book that all ages could enjoy with beautifully illustrated pictures to compliment the story and could be used with a variety of techniques for everyone to appreciate.


“Whatever Next” is the second book in the bear family series which are written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. This adventure takes a more imaginative approach to storytelling with baby bear building a rocket to fly to the moon. He wants to travel to the moon before he has a bath so he gets his rocket (a cardboard box), his space boots (a pair of Wellington boots) and a helmet (a colander) from around the house to prepare him going to the moon.  On the way to the moon he makes a friend in an owl and they have a picnic before baby bear must return home to have his bath.

The book is of a good length for a young child (roughly 29 pages) and isn’t that taxing on them as each page has a short amount of written information on it which is also accompanied by a detailed illustration. The illustrations help the child understand what is going on in the story.  For example the pictures of baby bear getting his equipment show the child what he is using as a “space helmet” or a rocket.  The illustrations are quite large but do not distract away from the content of the book. The writing is often put on another page before the accompanied image to give the child the opportunity to see if they can read and understand what is going on before guessing by looking at the picture.  From a technical standpoint they layout is very useful for “story time” as the text on the left and the picture on the right is clearly visible for the child to follow.

This book is very useful at getting children's imagination flowing with space as a theme. This book could be used as a medium to get children thinking about what is needed for space and parents could play along with their children (as my parents used to)

Overall this book has lasting appeal. I suggest this book is suitable for children aged 2-6 years old. Even at 22 I still enjoy this book. 

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 5+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 3+


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