Book Review – A Bear is a Bear (except when he’s not)

15th May 2018

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Karl Newson (Author), Anuska Allepuz (Illustrator)

The cover of this book is absolutely irresistible and I couldn’t wait to find out more about the Bear.  How can you not want to read a book which features an illustration of a big, happy, cuddly bear sitting up a tree in a birds nest!

This charming book tells the unfortunate story of confused bear who has forgotten what he is.  Children will giggle as Bear tries out being many different animals but to no avail.  Each time, something seems not quite right – he’s unable to fly so can’t be a bird, is afraid to climb high so isn’t a squirrel and can’t prance about like a fox.  So what can he be?  Bear snuggles down in his cave for a nap…but what happens next?  He does what all bears do – he hibernates!

When he awakes, Bear realises exactly what he is.

The gentle, rhyming text flows easily from page to page making this a perfect book for reading aloud.  The author expertly allows for child interaction with the repetition and refrain – ‘what would he be, if a bear forgot?’  Children will soon be joining in with shouts of “a bear!”

Enchanting illustrations cleverly depict the bear’s emotions, allowing children to understand how the bear is feeling – sadness, hope, wonder and happiness to name a few.  I love the way Allepuz brings the environment to life and breathes personality into the bear. He really is the most lovable creature.

A Bear is a Bear is a book children will want to read again and again.  The positive message of learning to just be ourselves will resonate with adults and acts as a prompt for conversation.  Elements of humour will hold attention and will help ensure this gem of a book becomes a real favourite.

Written by Emma Davis

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