The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

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The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A hilariously silly picture book about what Moose, Lion, Zebra and Sheep get up to when they try to stop Bear being quite so cranky. Children will giggle their heads off.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340989425

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Moose, Lion, Zebra and Sheep head into a cave to get out of the rain, but little do they know that Bear is fast asleep in there. When they wake him up, he roars at them, chasing them outside, so they decide to cheer him up somehow. Zebra paints stripes on him, Moose fashions antlers for him and Lion sticks a mane of straw on him. Unsurprisingly, this makes Bear even crankier, so it's down to Sheep to save the day...

The Very Cranky Bear is great fun. I laughed my head off at the picture of the grumpy bear in the rain, with sticks attached to his head, straw round his neck, and white stripes on his fur. It's a fantastic image that will amuse children every time you read it with them. The rhymes and rhythm work well throughout the book, and give the story a nicely unfolding plot and thrilling pace.

It does end a little suddenly - it feels like it could have done with just one more page of Sheep basking in her glory - but that's just nit-picking. Youngsters will find the story engaging, the vocabulary clear but interesting, and the humour perfectly pitched. It's the sort of book that could easily become a firm favourite. Books with cranky bears always get the thumbs up from me!

Nick Bland's illustrations really suit the fast-paced and comic nature of the tale. They have a cartoony style, with big heads and tiny feet - that slick look doesn't always work as well in books as it does on TV and in films, but it's ideal here. They reminded me a little of the illustrations in Jack's Tractor by Thomas Taylor, although the bear in particular gives everything a slightly more traditional look. It's a wonderfully silly book. Recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For another fun tale of a grumpy bear, check out A Visitor For Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton. Inspector Croc Investigates by Sam Lloyd has similar bold illustrations. If sheep are your thing, then Derek the Sheep by Gary Northfield is very amusing.

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Buy The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland at


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