Author: Meg McKinlay
Illustrator: Leila Rudge
Published: 2012 (US edition)
Illustrations: colored illustrations on every page spread
Text Density per page: approximately 2-5 sentences per page
Age: 3 and older (children 5 and older may enjoy this book more than younger children)
Summary: No Bears
Ella is writing a book, and she knows what sort of book it will be. Her book will have pretty things, fairies, princesses, castles, funny things, exciting things and scary things but most importantly NO BEARS. After all, “Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS – horrible furry bears slurping honey in awful little caves.”
Then follows Ella’s delightful story including, yes, a princess (Ella who has donned a paper crown for the part), a king and queen (who look rather domestic), a fairy godmother (with pen, paint, and a magic wand) and a “scary” monster but NO Bears. Princess Ella peers into the illustrations of her spiral bound notebook while behind all the action a furry bear watches on (although he nicely refrains from slurping any honey). When the monster decides to kidnap the princess, the bear steps into action attempting to stop the monster on each page. Finally, when all other attempts have failed and the monster has grabbed the princess. The bear uses a quick wave of the fairy godmother’s wand to right all wrongs and return the princess to her safe home. Ella’s story ends with a bash for the fairy godmother who everyone knows saved Ella (after all there are no bears!). The poor neglected bear is left with a few straggling fairy tale creatures and no verbal credit for a job well done.
Illustrations: No Bears
Leila Rudge‘s illustrations in No Bears add a complex dimension to the simple storyline. I caught my son Ben peering over the illustrations on his own trying to see every detail. If you are a reader (like me) who gets so excited at the chance to read a new book that you race through it as quickly as possible, slow down and enjoy. This picture book is one of those rare treasures where the illustrations and words blend together in perfect story-harmony.
NO BEARS. Text copyright © 2011 by Meg McKinlay. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Leila Rudge. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books Australia. (Please do not pin, copy, or reproduce!)
My Comments: No Bears
Meg McKinlay and Leila Rudge’s delightful book No Bears definitely meets my personal three major review criteria: well-written, quality illustrations, and encourages the imagination. Ben and I enjoyed reading the book together multiple times. One caution, I did notice that even though Amazon has listed this book as for three and older, Ben did not understand the humor of the illustrations contrasted with the story until I explained it to him. (Of course, I enjoyed the cuddles and giggles while explaining!)
Best of all, No Bears, encourages creative storytelling and writing. Don’t be surprised if your children want their own blank spiral notebooks for story writing after reading Ella’s tale.
Activity Ideas: No Bears
Creative Writing Activity: Using No Bears for inspiration, have your children write their own story. (I plan to expand upon this idea in a future post!) For younger children, ask questions that encourage imaginative storytelling. “What would your book NOT have in it?” “What would your book be like?”
Finding No Bears: Take your teddy bears and hide them in random spots throughout a room or outdoors. Remark that there are “no bears” in the area that you have hidden them and then let the children find the bears.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing a copy of No Bears for this review! This blog uses affiliate links but all opinions expressed are my own.