Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow

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Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow

Buy Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A sweet story of how friends are not always as nice to each other as they should be.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2011
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192729859

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Bug really, really wants to play a game with Bear, but Bear is tired and she wants a nap. Bug follows Bear around everywhere, pestering and pleading until, finally, Bear loses her temper and tells Bug to go away and leave her alone. She finally settles down for her nap but then discovers that she can't sleep...

Friendships can be tricky. Toddlers can jump from best of friends to sworn enemies in the time it takes to fetch the biscuit tin from the kitchen, so this book addresses how true friendships can survive the odd rocky patch. After telling Bug to buzz off, Bear finds that she's unable to sleep as she feels bad about what she said to her friend. She gets up and goes to find him, offering to play games with him if he wants. However by this point Bug is tired too, so they both curl up to nap together.

I have a soft spot for stories about bears. This one is instantly appealing with its sweet looking bear and funny blue bug. The illustrations have a lovely muted feel to them, with soft, autumnal colours. Bear has short little legs and a pudgy tummy and, although very simply drawn, has very expressive features. Bug is some sort of unidentifiable sort of fly, leaving a flying trail in his wake which the words sometimes curve around and follow. The illustrations all work very well with the text. Part way through there is one of those pages where you need to turn the book on its side for a full length picture. I actually find these a bit disruptive to reading - it's nice to have something special at the end of a story, but half way through when you've a wriggly toddler on your lap it can be awkward to turn a book around and back again. However, the artwork is so lovely that it didn't bother me too much this time!

I really liked Bug's character in the tale. He is very annoying, in true pestering child style. There's one page which just reminds me so much of how little ones can be that it makes me laugh out loud each time: When Bear heard Bug buzzing behind her, she lumbered faster. So Bug buzzed faster. 'Chase!' said Bug. 'Is that what we're playing?' 'Not now, Bug,' said Bear. 'Oh,' said Bug. 'How about now?' 'Humph,' said Bear and kept on lumbering.

The only part I didn't like in the book is where Bear tells Bug to buzz off. I don't mind the buzzing off, it's when she adds afterwards Go and jump in a lake! that I wasn't so happy. Small children are very impressionable, and have a tendency to recall entire chunks of stories from picture books. This isn't really something I'd want my little girl to shout out in one of her regular 'I'm not your friend any more' arguments. I really liked the depiction of Bear's frustration, but I would have preferred a slightly different phrasing. Everything turns out okay in the end as Bug has jumped into the lake, but onto a lily pad. Bear jumps into the water and rescues him, apologising for being mean before.

Even with this small issue this is still a lovely book. I found it very enjoyable to read, pretending to be a pestering bug and a grumpy bear!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: Bear lovers might also enjoy Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth and Paddington by Michael Bond. At Christmas, you might enjoy Pocket's Christmas Wish by Ann Bonwill and Russell Julian.

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Buy Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bug and Bear by Ann Bonwill and Layn Marlow at Amazon.com.