Friday, 31 October 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 31st October 2014 - "Bears Don't Read" by Emma Chichester-Clark (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Bears Don't Read

Written and Illustrated by
Emma Chichester-Clark

Published by HarperCollins Children's Books

I know you'll probably accuse us of playing favourites on the blog from time to time. Certain authors and illustrators hit our Book of the Week slot with consummate ease and Emma Chichester-Clark recently found her way into our hearts with her awesome "Plumdog" book.

We're currently marvelling at her latest children's book which is just so good that once again it's deserving of our Book of the Week accolade. In "Bears Don't Read" we meet a rather large but thankfully quite placid grizzly bear named George who isn't really satisfied with his life. "Is this all there is?" he muses as he stares out across the wonderful scenery of the valley where he lives, watching his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews all seemingly happy with their grizzly bear lives.

Everything changes when the bear finds a book that someone has lost in the forest. A book, showing the most wonderful things - and suddenly the bear realises that there is indeed more to life, and more books out there. From that moment on, George is determined to track down the owner of the book and see if they will teach him to read too. His family think he's crazy and sadly wave George off as he embarks on the long long journey into town to find people, and hopefully a willing teacher.

The next scene, once George hits town, is Charlotte's favourite spread in the whole book. You can imagine the scene as a giant grizzly pops up. Poor George doesn't know why everyone's running (including a couple of very familiar looking dogs that made Charlotte quite literally clap with glee!) - but he manages to ask a passer by where his book might've come from. The school, of course the school! The school is attended by a little girl, Clementine. Could she hold the key to fulfilling George's dearest wish, to learn to read himself?

I'm trying not to gush about the rest of the book, there are scenes in this that are so expertly handled by Emma - for instance when George is confronted by a rather menacing set of riot police, the scene is actually quite scary for little ones. Thankfully there are no guns, no violence - and in reality the rather loud and pompous police chief might not be such a bad egg after all.

OK no more spoilers. This book celebrates the sheer joy of reading, the possibilities it opens up - and one bear's ultimate wish to join those of us who know the greatest pleasure of wrapping ourselves up in fantastic books - books such as this in fact - and losing ourselves in their brilliant worlds.

Charlotte's best bit: That fabulous scene where George hits town. Look very closely to see a few rather special canine guest stars!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Love the twist, the brilliant brilliant twist - and George is just such a wonderful creation. If your children already love Blue Kangaroo they are going to REALLY love this. Utterly and completely sublime, and we cannot wait for you to read it!

(Kindly sent to us by HarperCollins Children's Books)