Where is Bear?

Jonathan Bentley,  Where is Bear?,  Little Hare/Hardie Grant,  Feb 2016,  24pp.,  $24.95 (hbk),  ISBN: 9781760122911

From award-winning illustrator, Jonathan Bentley comes a truly irresistible story about a young boy searching for Bear before going to bed. With determination matched only by his growing need to sleep, the little boy perseveres until Bear is found and he can finally go to bed. But this seemingly simple story has a charming twist that will keep readers young and old enthralled to the last page.

With pitch-perfect toddler voice and emotion, readers are pulled through the story, exasperated by all the places Bear isn’t found. It’s near impossible not to feel his frustration when the little boy finally yells “WHERE IS BEAR?“. Fortunately, the story comes to a most comforting and memorable happy ending.

Jonathan Bentley’s illustrations are absolutely brilliant. The nighttime, getting-ready-for-bed scenes are spot on as are the little boy’s actions, like tossing clothes out of drawers. There is also an entertaining use of a bear semi-hidden in all the pictures so young readers can try to spot him leading up to one of the most delightfully surprising endings I’ve seen in a children’s book.

Where is Bear? is one of the best picture books I’ve read this year and definitely my new favourite nighttime book. Geared for children aged one and over, I can personally attest to the fact that my four-year-old hasn’t tired of it and often requests it.  And I’m more than happy to oblige. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Stephanie Ward


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