Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman

Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman

Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora (InfoSoup)

A little girl is flying a kite when her string breaks and the kite lands in a cave. When she heads into the cave to get her kite, there is a big bear in there who rolls over in his sleep and breaks her kite. The little girl gets very angry and yells at the bear, “Horrible Bear!” She stomps away to her home. Bear was very upset too. After all, he isn’t a horrible bear at all. But then he had a horrible idea of his own. He practiced barging in, making lots of noise and waking someone out and then headed down to her house. Meanwhile though, the girl was figuring out exactly how rude she had been. Now an apologetic little girl is all set for a run in with a bear ready to be horrible!

Dyckman has created a book that simply must be shared aloud. From the refrain of “Horrible Bear!” as the girl storms off to the roaring bear as he is being horrible, the entire book is filled with ways for children to participate. This book is about the importance of apologizing for bad behavior and mistakes and the way that apologies can completely change a situation. I particularly enjoyed the clever interplay of a grumpy girl and a mellow bear that then switch roles. It also shows that each of us have different aspects to our personality and that we can decide to change our moods.

OHora’s illustrations are wonderfully large and bold, adding to the appeal of the book for group sharing. With a dynamic mix of panels and other images that span both pages, the book makes turning pages fun and interesting. The orange bear pops on the page as does the red-headed little girl. The two convey their emotions clearly which makes it easy for children to understand as their moods change.

A wonderful picture book that is just right for sharing aloud with a group. Expect lots of chants of Horrible Bear from preschool audiences. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.


Review: Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It by Gail Carson Levine

forgive me i meant to do it

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Based on William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say” poem, these poems borrow the form and the apology but build upon it with a wild array of situations.  In each poem, an apology is offered, but all of them are done conditionally and many are completely insincere.  There is an apology for eating all of the ice cream and replacing it with anchovies.  There is an apology for turning a bully into a fly and having a swatter ready to go.  Then there are many apologies based on fairy tales or songs that children will enjoy seeing from a new and inventive perspective.  This is a book to pick up and read out of order, unless of course you stumble upon one of the apologies the author has included that might make you reconsider that approach! 

I’m always on the look out for funny poems to share with children, since I’ve found that Prelutsky and Silverstein make a great ice breaker when talking with groups.  Even the jaded upper elementary class can be caught off guard by a charmer of a poem, especially one that elicits guffaws and merriment.  I can see these very short poems being shared in groupings as part of a class visit.  Perhaps interspersed with information about the library and its offerings.

The entire work is very funny, though some of the poems work better than others.  The illustrations hearken to Silverstein’s work with the ink drawings done without additional color.  They have a wonderful frenetic energy to them and also a delight at the situations. 

This will be a welcome addition in elementary classrooms that are working with poetry.  It also makes for a great giggly bedtime read.  Appropriate for ages 7-10. 

Reviewed from library copy.