Another Book about Bears

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Laura Bunting (text) and Philip Bunting (illustrator), Another Book about Bears, Omnibus Books, November 2018, 32 pp., RRP $27.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742991931

Cast your mind back to your favourite childhood stories, and chances are, a bear starred in at least one of them. That bear had to jump up and do whatever the book says – whether that was having its porridge stolen and its bed broken by a naughty golden locked girl, trying to find its way back to deepest darkest Peru from Paddington train station or searching for honey in the Hundred Acre Wood – whenever you opened that book to read. In Another Book about Bears, the old brown bear decides that enough is enough.

According to the old brown bear, there have been too many books written about bears. The interruptions to their sleeping, snoozing and napping made by the frequent need to perform in these stories have left all bears exhausted, and sick of doing all the work. Therefore, the bears have quit, and the author is left without a bear to star in the book.

Another book about Bears is not just another book about bears. This bear-all account, created by Laura and Philip Bunting breaks the fourth wall, as author and character converse about how to solve the problem of bears’ popularity in children’s stories, and what other animals might help carry the load for bears, who are sick and tired of doing all of the heavy lifting.

Perfect for teachers introducing fractured fairytales, creativity and problem solving, this book is not only fun to read but also a wonderful learning opportunity. What happens to plot, setting and resolution when the main character of the bear is replaced by another animal? What other animal could be…just right?

This picture book will appeal to children from ages four and up, but children between six and eight will get the most out of its post-modern characteristics. With different fonts to indicate the voices of bear and author, the challenge of taking the bear’s point of view and the intertextual references and wordplay, Another book about Bears offers much more than just a traditional story experience. It should definitely be included in primary school and public library collections, but its warmth and humour will see it equally popular for home reading.

Reviewed by Kay Oddone

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