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

Thursday 28 June 2012

Review: The Very Hungry Bear

Bear is in a grumpy mood. He's been fishing all day long, without a single nibble on his line. When suddenly, he hooks something mega big. I mean - huge - a polar bear!

Now, this polar bear has a decent snatch of fish but he's happy to part with one or two for Brown Bear. In fact, he's even happy to part with the lot if only Brown Bear will allow him to stay awhile.


Because his iceberg is shrinking.

My heart shrank when I read this line. Totally unexpected, its message took the light and funny tone of this book to a very dark place very quickly - until, of course, Brown Bear realises a stash of fish is far too good an offer to refuse, and comically ambles through the forest to his cave, with Polar Bear in hot pursuit.

'Stay for as long as you please,' he says amicably, but the cave is far too warm for Polar Bear. Perhaps Mole can help. His tunnel is cooler - bit a little bit small. What about Croc? Well, he's no help at all - and after the realisation that Polar Bear is actually allergic to trees, both bears make a hasty retreat, back to the snow.

Can Brown Bear help Polar Bear create a new home of his very own?

Nick Bland's iconic Bear books just keep getting better and better (if that's at all possible) - with this hilarious and beautifully-illustrated newbie. The images of both bears as they trundle around the landscape are just too priceless for words - the looks on their faces, the lilt of their bodies, the way bear fishes with his pole - it's so good, your face will hurt from smiling.

The book's text has been written in limerick rhyme which - for purists - may be a tad disappointing, as perfect rhythm is several times lost, lending a teensy bit of disjointedness to those wanting to read the book aloud. Nevertheless, the storyline, humour and illustrations far outweigh this problem.

Both existing and new fans will simply adore Brown Bear's latest, ravenous adventure.

Title: The Very Hungry Bear
Author/Illustrator: Nick Bland
Publisher: Scholastic, $15.99 RRP
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781742831701
For ages: 2 - 8
Type: Picture Book