After enjoying the story of Jim in The Lumberjack’s Beard we were so happy to get our paws on a copy Duncan Beedie’s first picture book, The Bear Who Stared. Published by Templar Publishing, this book has been shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2017.
In this story we meet a rather shy and awkward bear. Unsure of how to break the ice with his fellow forest dwellers this bear stares. He stares and stares. Naturally, all this staring makes everyone uneasy; the ladybirds shouted at him, the birds shooed him away and badger even took to biting him on the end of his nose.
Sad and alone, the bear sits by the side of a pond and meets a wise frog who shows him the power of smiling.
The next day he tries it out, smiling his way around the forest. Sure enough his smile lands him more friends than his stares and he even manages to keep the end of his nose safe too.
Beautifully illustrated, in shades of orange and green, Duncan Beedie has skilfully created a serene and untouched forest setting for this story. The animals are so expressive with their big round eyes and eyebrows that seem to work completely separately from their bodies.
My one-year-old likes the page where the badger has bitten the bear’s nose and always goes to rub it better on the picture. This is my four-year-old’s favourite page, a close up of the bear staring!
We all find ourselves in the same boat as this bear from time to time; struggling to think of the right thing to say, a clever thing to say or just something to say at all. This would be a perfect book to help children who are nervous of making new friends or even to support others to understand how being shy makes someone feel.
A stand-out book with endearing characters that tackles a sensitive issue with consideration and charm.
You can find out more about Duncan Beedie on his website here.
Many thanks to Templar Publishing for sending a copy of this book for review.