Review Blog

Jan 22 2019

Another book about bears by Laura and Philip Bunting

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Omnibus Books, 2018. ISBN 9781742991931
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Bears. Humour. This wonderfully entertaining book consists of a dialogue between the writer and the bear, as the bear, realising that yet another book is being written about his species, refuses to comply. 'After all says the bear, there have been too many books about bears; bears are grumpy, lazy and a bit ferocious, and would prefer to be doing something else.' The bear walks off the page leaving the author to come up with a variety of different storylines to entice the bear back into the picture.
This very funny look at the role of bears in children's books, has the bear offer many other suggestions of animals to appear in a book. Each is considered but rejected: the dodo? too extinct, the horse? neigh, marmosets? too crazy. The quirky suggestions will have readers laughing out loud as they consider a picture book about the animals offered. Once bear has gone through all the animals he can think of, the author and the bear come to the conclusion that there is no one better than a bear but the bear still refuses. But the author has an idea!
This hilarious look at the number of bears in children's books will have readers of all ages laughing uproariously as they too will question the representation of bears in books, and try to imagine books where other animals are used and laugh again at the idea offered by the author at the end.
Philip Bunting's readily identified illustrative style will delight readers. The bear stares out at the reader, sometimes with only the slightest move of the eyeball or eyebrow to tell the audience how he is feeling, but each time eliciting a laugh of recognition. The husband and wife team has produced a classic tale of standing up for yourself and of negotiating change to make this happen. The dialogue is snappy and funny, the different speakers denoted by different sized fonts, while other bears make their feelings heard with banners and signs.
The bear with his mobile phone trying to elicit help from other animals is a hoot, while the end papers with an array of sharks underlines the predominance of bears in children's books (and not sharks, or dodos, or echidnas).
I loved this book and can imagine lots of discussion with readers going to their shelves or the library to see just how many books there are about bears.
Fran Knight

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