Tonight’s review is of the delightful A Bear is a Bear (Except When He’s Not…), by Karl Newson and Anuska Allepuz, published by Nosy Crow.
What it’s about
Bear is a bear but he often gets confused. Sometimes he thinks he’s a bird, or a moose, or a fox or a squirrel. But when he tries to behave like another creature, it all goes a little wrong. Poor Bear becomes increasingly fed up and frustrated. Is there any way he can remember who he is?
Two things drew me to this book – the title, which I thought was interesting and funny, and the lovely illustrations – rounded, colourful and full of character. Bear looks so cuddly (and so unlike the Grizzlies and Brown and Black bears I used to live near). He’s appealing and amusing in his forgetfulness (if only I could be). Narrated in rhyming couplets, this story pulls the reader in from the start, with a whimsical poetic style that is reminiscent of some of Julia Donaldson’s tales. In fact, when I read it aloud, some of my colleagues and some children asked if I was sure it wasn’t by her!
The children were thoroughly engrossed with this story from the first page, insisting on telling Bear that he was a bear, no matter what he thought. They laughed, they rolled their eyes at his silliness and then they started suggesting what else he might be: a mole, a car, a spaceship, etc. In fact we designed an activity based on this story to see what ideas they would come up with, and if they could try to write in rhyme.
There were some imaginative examples…
and I particularly liked this version by Isabella in Year 2, with two excellent rhymes.
Children commented on loving the rhyme and rhythm of the book, and that the bear was funny and silly.
A Bear is a Bear (Except When He’s Not) is sure to be a classic!