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Bears are best in these books

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: April 25, 2013 6:16AM



Bears are always a fun subject for kids. I’m not sure why in real life they are certainly not warm and fuzzy.

In “No Bears” by Meg McKinlay, we meet Ella who wants to tell us a story. There is just one rule—there can be no bears in the story. Ella gives us the outline of a story beginning with, “Once upon a time” and ending with, “...happily ever after. The end.”

We then get a lecture on why there will be no bears in this story. Yet, unbeknownst to Ella, there is a bear looking on.

A list of all things that we will find in the story continues, again with a bear peeking into the page.

We will need pretty things, fairies, princesses, castles, funny things and exciting things and scary things, and maybe even a monster or a giant but not any bears.

Ella proceeds to tell us her story and it includes all the elements that she has mentioned plus a few more she adds along the way.

But on each page, Ella specifically mentions that there are no bears and we watch as the bear appears any way.

We laugh as Ella does her last denial of bear presence and the bear is right there. Kids will love the secret that we know that Ella doesn’t.

Grace Maccarone uses the classic “The Three Bears” and adds the alphabet. We meet A with the rest of the alphabet in a tree. Obviously, B is for Bears. The rest of the letters follow the story with complete logic. The difficult letters, Q, V, X and Z, are included beautifully.

What a great way to review a wonderful classic story and at the same time, practice the ABCs.

One the fascinating things about people is how they see things differently. In “Thank You Bear” by Greg Foley, Little Bear finds an empty box one fine morning. He decides that Mouse will really love this treat.

On the way to find Mouse, he meets lots of friends who are not impressed. Just as Bear is debating whether or not it is such a special thing, Mouse comes along and declares that it is the greatest thing ever.

Bear is delighted as Mouse curls up and goes to sleep in his new cave.

“The Great Bear” by Libby Gleeson and Armin Greder is a combination of written story and wordless book.

The Bear is a circus bear, cruelly treated and made to dance and perform. We follow him and see his misery, year in and year out. Then, one night, he has had it and he breaks free, frightens the audience who has been, as usual, tormenting him, and runs.

That’s when the words stop and the pictures are left alone. He finds a flag pole and climbs to the top and looks longingly at the stars. Then, he launches himself at the stars.

I have to assume that this might be the way that Ursa Major got into the sky in the first place. What a lovely legend in the making.



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