A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard

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A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Why does the sun come and light up the day? Why does the wind rush around in the air? Oh and by the way, what am I meant for and why am I here? Is there no limit to a small bear's curiosity and will his older and wiser companion always be able to provide an answer? This delightful book takes a humourous look at the wonderful questions small people ask and maybe provides some model answers for some desperate parents.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Orchard Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846162466

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I have a very curious child so this seemed an apt book to choose to share with her. For as long as I can remember my daughter has been coming out with questions that quite often both her daddy and I find difficult to answer so I wanted to see whether the wise old bear in this book fared any better. I even wondered whether I could borrow some of the answers!

A Very Curious Bear is a delightful story which follows a small bear and his wiser companion through a day that they spend together. Throughout this day the smaller bear constantly asks questions to which the older bear always responds. The questions start the moment they get up with the small bear asking:

Why does the sun come and light up the day?

As you can see this bear is not content with asking simple questions such as what are we going to do today? However, the older bear comes up with an excellent response:

To wake you from sleep so you come out to play.

As the day progresses the small bear asks, amongst other things, why the wind rushes around, why daisies squeeze up from the grass and why the rain comes and wets the world through. All of these questions are answered with the solemnity and thought that such big questions deserve. As the pair are having a lovely outdoors day, most of the questions relate to nature. However, nature tends to have its dark side too and towards the end of the story the bears witness the results of a heavy storm, prompting the curious bear to ask:

Why would the wind and the weather above
destroy such a beautiful thing that we love?

This is a very special moment in the story when the older bear is able to help the small one view the storm more positively. He is able to point out that the fallen tree that caused the question to be asked is now a bridge that will help them cross the stream. The questions continue to the very end and I really love the final two that the small bear asks mainly because they sum up the curiosity that fills young minds and reminds me of my daughter:

Why is the moon like a lamp in the sky?
For light and for beauty and wondering why.

But what am I meant for and why am I here?
To live and to wonder, my darling, my dear.

We really enjoyed this story and I think it has a gentle rhythm that makes it very special. The story is told in rhyming couplets where the small bear asks a weird or wonderful question to which the older bear immediately replies. The older bear's answers are always printed using italics so it makes it very easy for a small child to work out which of the two is speaking. It's quite a tricky book to read out loud because it's mainly a conversation between the two but I persuaded my husband to read the older bear's words and my daughter enjoyed the fact that she was able to follow a real dialogue between two people. The words are very accessible for young children and you could easily imagine that they were being asked by a young child.

Throughout the story there are beautiful illustrations which highlight exactly what prompted the questions. However, about halfway through there is a wonderful page which has no words at all and just shows the two bears relaxing with their picnic. This does tend to provide a welcome relief from all the relentless questions and it's surprising how my daughter loves to pause on this page too.

This very clever book is likely to appeal to young children and also to their older parents who I'm sure will recognise some of the questions. I'm not sure whether this book provided me with any wise answers that I will borrow but it did make me think that I must treat my children's questions with the respect they deserve, however strange they may seem!

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

If this story appeals to you and your child you may also enjoy Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.

Buy A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton and Paul Howard at Amazon.com.


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