'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 27 May 2010

Review: The Other Bears

Being one of the most multicultural countries on earth, it is of course vital we not only share the glorious facets of other cultures with our children, but that we teach tolerance and understanding of those quite different from ourselves.
And beyond tolerance and understanding, it would be a wonderful to thing to encourage curiosity in people and places far distant from our own; an inquisitive and probing fascination of those who appear different, who act differently, and practice differing lifestyles, is surely a way to expand the heart and mind.

And what better way to illustrate this for little ones than with teddy bears?

Mother and Father koala fancy themselves as bears (though we are reminded that they are not, in fact, bears at all) but they are in for a surprise when lineup of bears from other countries arrive, throwing mum and dad for a loop.

There’s a family of pandas, polar bears, black bears, brown bears and sun bears, all bringing their little ones along, all showcasing spectacular costumes and equipment from their home countries.

The pandas bring a rickshaw and Chinese cuisine. The polar bears bring warm coats and a sled. The black bears form their own marching band in red white and blue. The brown bears bring their Russian Cossacks and fabulous stories. The sun bears bring their bicycles and parasols.

But they also bring sharp teeth and claws and lots of noise and they look different and act different – all of which totally unnerves Father and Mother Koala, who mumble amongst themselves, with worrisome looks on their faces.

But it’s when these somewhat sheltered parents see the offspring of all these very odd bears playing together beautifully, that all their fears are allayed. If children can see through colour and nationality and creed then, well – that’s good enough for mum and dad, too.

Charming illustrations round out a lovely story about accepting people who are very different to ourselves – and learning that, when it comes down to it, the innocence of children and play crosses all borders.

Author website

Title: The Other Bears

Author: Michael Thompson

Illustrator: Michael Thompson

Publisher: Fremantle Press, A$24.95RRP

Format: Hardcover with dust jacket

ISBN: 9781921361951

For ages: 2-5

Type: Picture Book