The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds

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The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A charming, cuddly, entertaining book for all toddlers, with rhythmical text and wonderful illustrations.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0747577652

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Michael Rosen was the author of the very, very popular We're Going on a Bear Hunt as well as the critically applauded Michael Rosen's Sad Book. In The Bear in the Cave he teamed with Adrian Reynolds, the illustrator who brought us Big Blue Train and Harry and the Snow King, to create another bear tale which should appeal to all toddlers and preschoolers.

A bear lives in a cave by the sea, and as he hears the sounds of the city he decides to go and see what it's like. The train journey is exciting, and the city too, but it all is rather overwhelming and people are laughing at him. Sad and lost he sits down on the bench, to be rescued by four children who take him all the way back home and then lie down with the bear to rest in his cave.

I loved The Bear in the Cave: it has a good story, it has emotions that would be familiar to all small children, it has good text and truly great illustrations. The journey is dynamic and exciting, but the ending is sweet, calming and ideal for a bedtime story: I also wanted to be there, in those huge cuddly paws with all the children!

The whole text is very simple and makes great use of rhythm, repetition with variation and sound mimicking words. I wasn't sure about all of the text at first. It has a lot of repetition, which is a Good Thing in a toddler book, but I thought the use of questions strange:

I am a bear in a cave.

In a cave?

In a cave.

But when I listened to the CD, read by the author, it worked really well (in fact, the CD is excellent and if you are buying this book, get the one with a CD).

I also loved the onomatopoeias used extensively to great effect (I can't help quoting): the bear sings Do bee doo Doobee doo Doo bee doodily doo, the water splashes Splishety splashety splish, the cars go vroomy vroomity vroom, people laugh hee hee heedily hee and so on.

The pictures are brilliant: expansive, dynamic, bright without in-your-face gaudiness, and with great use of colour. The seaside is all gold and orange and blue and navy, the bear is orange brown and huge, the city a riot of colours. There is enough detail for some pointing, but not too much which would overwhelm a toddler.

My 22 month old was totally enraptured by the text: he repated all the whooshes and vrooms and was particularly fond of splishes and hee hee hee hees. He also loves the pictures: his favourite is the market with bananas, fish and shoose.

Highly recommended for all toddlers from about 18 months of age.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending us the book.

Another wonderfully rhythmical and full of sounds book for small children is Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root. The sequel is Bear Flies High by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds.

Buy The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds at Amazon.com.


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