Sarah Elliott Smyth (text), Nicky Johnston (illus.), Where’s Bear?, Empowering Resources, 1 Dec 2017, 32pp., $17.00 (pbk). ISBN: 9781925592023
This is a lovely, heart-warming story about facing fears. While reading I was reminded of an embarrassing memory. As a child, I could see the outline of the piano in the hallway as I lay in bed at night. I used to imagine the triangular outline of the side-on piano was a wolf. I would lie there petrified – half knowing there was nothing to be afraid of and half wondering if there was…and this is the idea that is captured so beautifully in Where’s Bear?
The protagonist Sophie loses her beloved bear and when she goes searching for him in the backyard, she’s almost overwhelmed by her fear of the “shadow monster”. The monster turns out to be the family dog and all is well as bear is returned to his rightful place in Sophie’s arms.
The book is produced by Empowering Resources, a company that aims to provide resources that help people of any age understand complex emotional and psychological issues.
Beautifully illustrated by Nicky Johnston, Where’s Bear? is highly accessible to pre-schoolers and early primary children and would make a good jumping off point for discussing fear and courage.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher