A child heads into bear country with a helpful narrator who tries to offer needed advice in dealing with bears. First, the narrator tells the child of the two kinds of bears, but assures them that they will never see one. But then on the next page, the child is lucky enough to encounter a bear right away. And it’s apparently a black bear, not only due to its coloring but because it chases the child right up a tree. The child backs away slowly and runs right into a brown bear next. The child plays dead, but that only invites the black bear to come closer. Pepper spray doesn’t help, it just makes them hungry. But perhaps gum will be the solution! Or maybe not.
It is the interplay between the knowledgeable adult narrator and the child who manages to get into all sorts of furry trouble that makes this book such a great pick to share aloud. The bears are huge and fearsome but the book also makes sure to show that there are ways to interact with nature that leaves everyone alright in the end, if a little shaken. The book also mentions that it is not safe to really interact with bears like the child does in the book.
The illustrations are wonderful. They move from cartoon friendliness to pages of information that have a graph paper background. The use of a gender-free main character who has brown skin, makes this book all the more friendly to children from a variety of backgrounds. And the merry way that the child faces each obstacle adds to the light-hearted feel of the book.
A silly and jolly look at nature and bears that is sure to add laughter to a storytime. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Bloomsbury.