CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 4. . . .September 28, 2012.
Nick Bland returns with a third story about his emotive brown bear, and it proves as delightful as his first two offerings, The Very Cranky Bear and The Very Itchy Bear. Bear is no longer cranky, or itchy, but he sure is hungry and willing to go to great lengths to secure some delicious fish to eat. When a polar bear competing for his food source offers him a pile of fish in exchange for help finding somewhere to stay, Bear is more than willing to embark on a journey from cave, to burrow, to tree to find his new friend the perfect place to call home.
The Very Hungry Bear is written in a pitch-perfect rhyme scheme that reads smoothly aloud, almost like a song. The plot is simple and easy to follow while the onomatopoeia and humour keep readers engaged. This is a story that begs to be re-read, and it is satisfying on each read through. It also opens up for a discussion about animal habitats, sharing, and putting another's needs before your own. For the older child, issues like global warming could also be introduced as Polar Bear's ice is melting at an alarming rate and he cannot live the same way as brown Bear.
The illustrations work in perfect harmony with the story. They are light, silly, cartoon drawings that demonstrate obvious emotion. They even tell a story of their own as Bear must leave a fish or two behind at every real estate viewing. This subtle addition encourages children to go back and study the colourful images in more detail. The Very Hungry Bear is a pleasure to read and is one book I can see myself pulling out for story times again and again.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, who fills every crack of her spare time with children's literature.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.