The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben

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The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Delightful. Do you like bears? Do you like stories? Then you'll love it, trust me.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: October 2013
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 978-1849397612

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Readers of my reviews may be aware that I am quite partial to stories about bears. I jumped at the chance to read this one. It has that wonderful picture of a smiling black bear on the cover after all - who could resist?

Inside, things just get better. This is a story within a story. We learn that there once was a book that belonged to a little boy and it was his favourite book. The boy takes it from the shelf to read with his mother, snuggled up next to her, and the book is about a big black bear who goes to sleep for the winter. And of course the bear in the pictures is the same bear on the front of our book! So, the story as we read it is a story of the boy reading with his mother, but it is also the story of the bear getting ready to sleep for the winter. There are comments that the mother makes as she reads. There are the boys interjections too, such as when he sees the page with all the snow he declares I like snow and then when he sees some children skating on a frozen pond he wishes he could skate too.

I love the way this story is told. There is one page that I think might be my favourite where it reads The boy touched the sharp corners of the book. Then he climbed onto his mother's lap. He felt the soft cotton of her shirt. She wrapped her arms around him. And she turned the page. Just delightful! I'm not sure if the story is being told there for the benefit of the child or children listening, or for the mum who treasures these moments when reading a story. We see the mum pointing at things within the book, the two of them naming colours of objects, different animals they can spot in the pictures, comparisons with their own lives - just as we all do when reading with our children. And of course behind it all is the bear's story too, as he sleeps on and on through the winter before Spring begins to creep in and the bear slowly wakes. And as the bear wakes, so the little boy has fallen asleep.

There's something delightful about this book. I love how it captures the joy of reading aloud with young children. I love the bear, and his sleepy story in the background. I love the little boy and his comments as he listens to the story, including the part where he gets thirsty like the bear must be and goes to get a glass of water! I love that your own children, listening, will repeat the boys own comments and look for the same things he looks for in the pictures. The illustrations are wonderful, supporting the text perfectly. They're painted pictures and there's something so warm and inviting about them. The sleepy bear is sweet, and the little boy is charming.

I think this will be one of those stories that I end up sneaking off my children's shelves to put on my own picture book shelf where I keep all my favourite read-aloud stories to be kept nice and for me to enjoy long after they've grown out of picture books. Well, that's if they ever do grow out of picture books. I certainly haven't! I really liked this story. It's loving and warm and so very gentle it makes a perfect winding down for bed story.

For more bear delights try Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth or The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds

Buy The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben at Amazon.com.


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