Review Blog

May 12 2015

A bed for Bear by Clive McFarland

cover image

HarperCollins, 2014. ISBN 9780062237057
(Age: Preschool - Yr 2) Winter is coming and it is time for bears to hibernate. But Bernard Bear did not want to sleep in the bear cave. It was too noisy, too big and too crowded. But he must find somewhere . . . and soon. So he sets out to find a bed that is just right for him.
Frog's lilypad looks nice but it is not made for a bear and wet is not comfortable. And Bird's bed is too windy and Rabbit's is too small. Will Bear ever find a bed that is just right for bears? And how will a teeny, tiny mouse help a big bear find a bed?
Even though the theme of creatures looking for that which is just right for them and trying all sorts of options is common, this is a charming tale that has a sense of newness and novelty about it. Illustrated with no extraneous detail apart from the focus of the text, the characters take centre stage, each one original and quirky. The text has a repetitive element that young children will join in with and they will delight in trying to find Mouse in the pictures. It could be a great introduction to investigating where animals live as well as challenging them to think of the characteristics that a bear's bed should have before Mouse solves the problem.
There is also the issue of Bear destroying all the beds he tries without apologising or helping to fix them which could set up some discussion about ethical behaviour at the child's level.
An intriguing debut for this author/illustrator that, like good picture books do, offers more than initially meets the eye.
Barbara Braxton

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