A Dog Called Bear by Diane Fox and Christyan Fox
|A Dog Called Bear by Diane Fox and Christyan Fox|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: One of those unusual books which adults and kids love. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Faber & Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Lucy had always wanted a dog and she'd been preparing for the moment when her dreams could come true for a long time: she'd read all the books, bought doggie things and her bedroom was plastered with doggie pictures. One day she set out to make her dream come true: accosting animals and presenting her credentials (there really is no other way of explaining it...) First up, a frog, who presents the counter arguments to dog ownership and then makes his own case, adding that he would only need a bath every day. Lucy's sorry, but she only has a shower...
The next interview is with something which looks very like a dog, but the bushy tail might just give you a hint as to the truth. He's prepared to try living indoors, but only for three days a week: Lucy's sorry, but she was really looking for a full-time dog. Then it's Lucy's turn to be approached by an animal who says that he's a dog, but doesn't actually look all that much like one, and there's a strong hint about what he really is when he says:
My name's Bear.
It's getting late and Lucy decides that Bear will have to do. To begin with all went well and the two had great fun. Bear knew that Lucy loved and cared for him. The first hitch came when Bear went for a nap. It lasted from November to March and took place in Lucy's bed. Then both sides began to be aware of the disadvantages of the relationship: the mess, the digging and the endless bowls of porridge on Lucy's part, and Bear's dislike of having to carry Lucy's sticks all the time, bringing a ball back, only to have it immediately thrown away again and being woken up when he was taking a nap. Bear decided to run away.
Some children's picture books are written just for the child: they're the sort that adults tend to dread being asked to read again and they usually try to hide them in the hope that they will be forgotten. There are others which are really written to appeal to adults and children have a simple way of getting rid of them: they just pretend that they don't exist. Rare books appeal to children and adults - and A Dog Called Bear falls into this group. Some of the jokes - Lucy interviewing the animals for example - will go over the child's head, but the situation is still funny, as is Fox's wish to be a part-timer.
There are plenty of visual jokes too: watch bear as he stalks Lucy before he introduces himself - hanging out of a tree or hiding behind an open newspaper (such a pity it's upside down) as he listens in to what's being said. The illustrations reward you with something new each time you read the book.
It's a lovely story with a gentle understated theme about friendship, compromise and taking people for what they are, rather than what you want them to be. It's a delight and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
I can't keep many of the books which I review - there just isn't the space, but I'm keeping A Dog Called Bear. I've also kept Dog on a Train: The Special Delivery by Kate Prendergast, Tidy by Emily Gravett, Bear and Hare: Where's Bear? also by Emily Gravett and Bee-&-Me by Alison Jay.
A Dog Called Bear by Diane Fox and Christyan Fox is in the Top Ten Children's Picture Books 2016.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Dog Called Bear by Diane Fox and Christyan Fox at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Dog Called Bear by Diane Fox and Christyan Fox at Amazon.com.
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