Review Blog

Jul 30 2013

The very brave bear by Nick Bland

cover image

Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 978 1 74283 800 7.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Animals. Verse. Courage. Bear and Boris Buffalo test each other's courage by thinking of ever more tricky things to do. Bear has Boris climb a tree, and swing from the branches. They try to catch a porcupine, and cross a raging river. They climb a hill and tumble down, they wear  a beard of bees, but when it comes to a deep dark cave with an animal inside that roars, they are both so scared that they run back to Slimy Bog and tumble in.
The verse underlines the humour as readers will try to predict the last word of each stanza, and learn some of the stanzas to say out loud. A wonderful read aloud, this book will cause some hilarity amongst its readers and listeners, all sitting round agog at the antics of these two animals.
Bland's illustrations are just gorgeous, the Bear and Boris drawn with personality and expression. Bland creates movement across the page with almost time lapse illustration as they are shown tumbling, climbing and running. The background to each page holds delights for the astute reader, and the inclusion of the little frog on each page will cause recognition when the end of the tale is reached.
For use in the classroom, this will enhance any discussion of courage, risk taking and fear, as the two animals serve as models for children's behaviour.
Fran Knight

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