I don't want to put an age limit on it, but you could start reading Bear at birth. Or hey! I read my copy to my oldest before he was born. We are very careful with books at my house and our board book of this is the only book we've ever thrown away. Because it was just.plain.worn.the.heck.out. My son cried as I picked up the individual pages and threw them away, and that was with him knowing we had two more copies of the book in the house! Bear Snores On is the first in a series of 8* (so far!) and each one deserves its own review, but that's a job for another day. In this book, you'll meet Bear and his friends. You will delight as your tongue somersaults around impeccable rhyme, spot-on rhythm and onomatopoeia galore. When your two-year-old brings you this one for the 187th time, it's unlikely indeed that you'll inwardly groan. The refrain "And the Bear Snores On" comes back again and again and your little ones will love being able to predict that it's coming. Jane Chapman's illustrations are so lovely that you'll probably want to climb right in the book.
But this review is actually not about Bear Snores On. It's about Bear Feels Scared.
I wanted to review a fallish book, and this is a favorite around here. In order of publication it's the sixth Bear book, but each one can stand alone. In this story, Bear becomes lost (I can heavily relate to that scenario) in his beloved woods. While Bear tromps along in the middle of a storm, wind and leaves swirling, his friends are cozied up back home in his lair. Jane Chapman really shines in this one. I love the purplish blue hues throughout, and the storm is brilliantly depicted. As Bear tries to find his way home, his faithful friends become worried at his absence.
"Wren tweets from his perch, 'We must all go search! What if bear feels scared?'"
All of the Bear books have a predictable refrain, and it's "Bear feels scared" for this one. Well, Bear does feel scared. He's lost and cold and alone, and we see him huddled up trying to find refuge from the storm. But his friends are on the job, and they have a plan:
"Badger lights and lamp and he shouts, 'Let's go! All the birds search high while the rest search low.'"
I'll let you in on a secret: the friends find Bear. Two of my favorite illustrations from the story show all the creatures cuddled up together - safe, loved, happy and warm.
Let's face it, sometimes it's a scary world out there. For kids and for grownups. When I see Bear cuddled up with his friends, I picture myself surrounded by the many people who have gotten me through hard times in my life, especially my brother and sister-in-law. Kids get scared, too, and I love for my own children to listen to a story that demonstrates some real life. People do get lost (literally and figuratively) and cold and scared and alone. There are storms. Life does seem hopeless when you're in the middle of it. But then, your friends find you. And it turns out that although you were blinded by despair and wind and rain, you were really just ten feet from your lair.
"And the bear feels safe."
*Bear Wants More, Bear Stays Up For Christmas, Bear's New Friend, Bear Feels Sick, Bear's Loose Tooth and Bear Says Thanks