The Best Kind of Bear
Greg Gormley and David Barrow
We first meet Bear sitting in the library trying to find out what kind of bear he is.
When a little girl Nelly, comes in and asks him the very same question he sets out on a journey of self-discovery. “Maybe there’s a bear out there who can help me,” he says.
Travelling west he meets, deep in the forest a big brown grizzly bear who tells Bear he loves ‘nice long naps’. So too does our identity seeker but he definitely does not want to sleep for the next six months and with the ‘funny little stitches’ on his tummy that Grizzly Bear points out, he knows he can’t possibly be a grizzly.
Thereafter Bear visits a polar bear in the north, a spectacled bear in the south, and finally, a Sun Bear in the east.
Each encounter only confirms what Bear is not so he decides to go home.
In the library Nelly is waiting. It’s a very dispirited Bear who enters admitting that he’s no further forward. He knows what he isn’t, but not what he is: I’m just ordinary, he concludes.
Then Nelly draws his attention to his unique features – the ‘funny little stitches … washing label on his bottom,’ soft bounciness and smart bow tie; she invites him to be her bear and … then he knows that’s the ‘very best kind of bear to be.’
Greg Gormley’s wonderfully warm story is essentially a tale of identity and belonging and with David Barrow’s superbly expressive, smudgy ursine scenes that are an absolute delight from first to last, this is a book to read and re-read over and over, perhaps with small children cuddled up with their very own special bears.
Keith among the Pigeons
When is a cat not a cat? That is the question; and the answer? Perhaps, when he is Keith.
Like other cats, Keith has a predilection for pigeons, spending much of his time observing them. Not with the intention of catching the feathered creatures; rather he wants to be a pigeon himself. His feline acquaintances certainly don’t rate him highly as a member of the feline fraternity.
His avian efforts however meet with little success until he hits upon an idea …
Foolproof it might be, but water proof – er?? …
Perhaps after all, it’s best to stick to honing one’s feline skills.
Or is there perhaps another solution that allows Keith to feel happy in his own furry skin.
This reviewer is ailurophobic but despite this, couldn’t help but fall for Keith. His’ ‘hi-coos’ are a hoot; I love his poster creating,
note taking and his sheer determination to be more pigeon. And he certainly gets across the message that being ourselves is what really matters.