Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes (Walker Books)

There seem to be a run on bears at Walker Books at the moment - which is fitting, given their branding. Here's a glorious dad-centric story about an incredibly brave little bruin!
Putting together Sean Taylor (who is a master of lyrical and lilting storytelling) and Emily Hughes (whose artwork just thrums with organic details and exquisite textures) is a stroke of genius.

We've just been loving "Albert's Tree" from Jenni Desmond and the bear treats from Walker Books continue with "A Brave Bear" which tells the story of a tiny bear cub and a big rumbustious bear dad, enjoying a day out and bonding in exactly the way bears should.

Through the dense forests they amble and through the thick grass, treading lightly over rocks as the glorious sunshine beats down overhead. When little bear cub hurts his knee, dad is there to reassure and protect - but little bear cub wants to reach their destination, the cool cool river for some bear-sized bathing fun!

We were very lucky to see this book at last summer's Walker Blogger event and we knew it'd be gorgeous - but sitting here with it in our own hands, and reading the gentle story just brings out how talented Sean and Emily are.

Repetition is used as a theme at various points in the story, making it a book that younger children will adore and remember the next time they want you to read it to them (which will probably be very shortly after you polish off the last page, if they're anything like Charlotte).

As she gets older, Charlotte loves delving into the technical details of how picture and story compliment each other. A bit of a chip off the old block, she loves to see how an artist will describe a scene to underpin the story perfectly (the bit where little bear cub bangs his knee is so delicately and beautifully illustrated, right down to the tiniest little details of bear cub standing there with a very red bruise, owch!)

Ultimately though, it's the way it reads aloud, and it's soothing and sonorous. Just as you'd imagine spending a day with dad bear would be amidst the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Get out into the wild, find a shady tree beside a babbling stream and read this book to your little cubs. It'll feel like magic.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Poor baby bear cub bravely struggles on after a hurt knee. Owch!

Daddy's favourite bit: It draws you in, this book. Draws you in with lilting and lyrical words, with gloriously detailed illustrations until you feel like you're right alongside dad bear and cub. Bee-YOO-tiful!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker Books)

"A Brave Bear"

Written by Sean Taylor

Illustrated by Emily Hughes

Published by Walker Books

Publication Date: 7th April 2016