Search This Blog

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

This is the Bear

Author: Sarah Hayes
Illustrator: Helen Craig
Publisher: Walker Books, First published in 1986, the edition featured 2011

Here's a bizarre little book. The story is a health and safety nightmare: a dog called Fred puts his boy owner's beloved teddy bear in the bin. The bin is collected and driven to the dump by 'a man in an awful grump'. The boy and Fred (the dog) track the grumpy dump attendent down and ask him to search for the bear in the dump. The teddybear is found in the rubbish and returned to the boy; the trio- dog, boy and bear -return home in the dump attendent's van. At home, the bear has a bath, lies to the other toys about his small sojourn (though Fred (the dog) appears to plan his expose), and then the bear asks 'when can we have another day out?' (presumably at the tip). How Walker books ever thought, 'that works as a story for small children' I don't know, but thankfully they did as it strangely raises a dry grin on the faces of my children each time I read this. And I really like books which can do that!

'This is the Bear' is easy to read-aloud, so perfect for National storytelling week this week. It has a steady, even 'one- two' rhythm, very simple two syllable words (mainly) and regular rhyming pattern. The page colour palette is predominantly white, with light pen drawings on two thirds of each page. The book is incredibly simple, modest even, and so feels relaxed when you read. Children don't tend to interject when you read this, unless you forget to read the speech bubbles, as the text and pictures support each other so nicely. 

I think the narrative works on the idea that the dump is, for children, a scary and unknown place, and it's unclear if you can come back or not. But the toy is found, returns to the person who loves him, and all is forgiven and forgotten. It's a simple 'lost and found' with more assurances and unconditionals. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...