Review Blog

Aug 15 2017

The very sleepy bear by Nick Bland

cover image

Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743812549
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. Rhyme. Hibernation. This much-loved bear is back in his sixth book and this time he is preparing for winter hibernation. He is just settling in for the long winter when Fox appears and convinces him that a bear like him, 'so big and strong and brave, a creature so magnificent... deserves a bigger cave'. Bear, admitting the cave is a little on the small side, follows Fox as he shows him new cave after new cave, each one more unsuitable than the last: a train tunnel, a tree hollow teeming with bats and a rock cave complete with ocean waves. On return to his own cosy cave, Bear finds sneaky Fox and all his friends have taken up residence there. He doesn't mind if they stay, he just wants to go to sleep. He does get the last word though... 'And by the way... I snore'. It may be the latest in a long series but it isn't any less pleasing, in fact this is one of the best. The fox character is sneaky and humorous and bear is perfectly unimpressed with everything that isn't a quiet place to sleep. Bland replicates the same fun and rhythmical writing style as the other Bear books. It also uses much of the same vocabulary and phrasing, making it a comfortable read for those familiar with the other titles. The illustrations, although they have been gradually evolving since The very cranky bear, are similarly familiar. Children will laugh out loud at this simple but very pleasing narrative, will delight in Bear's lack of enthusiasm, and will like the sneaky character of Fox, who is reminiscent of a dodgy car salesman trying his best to sell something that is far from ideal. Those who are already fans of the Bear series, as well as those who haven't yet been introduced, will enjoy this. A fun read aloud for all ages, which may even become the favourite Bear book.
Nicole Nelson

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