Don’t Wake the Bear, Hare! – Book Review

9781848950337-04-600x600The woodland animals are having a party. But, oh no, the bear has fallen asleep in the hollow tree right where they were planning to have their party! Not to worry, they can still have a party, though, if they do it quietly. All seems to go as planned until… Until the hare decides to add one last touch – he brings a big, red balloon and starts to blow… It’s easy to guess what happens next, a very loud Pop! wakes the scary, hairy bear up. But what do you know, it turns out that even though bears are very hairy, they are not one bit scary! The bear joins their party and even brings a pot of honey.

This is a wonderful picture book by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Caroline Pedler. It’s written in rhyme, though, you will not find any repetitions here so it will be a lot more difficult to memorise (if you are like me, that is, someone who walks through town with the baby while reciting one of the stories and imitating all the character voices, ignoring the looks of passers-by).

I have to be honest, I picked the book up because of its beautiful illustrations. I am a sucker for pretty illustrations and this one hooked me with its cover. It is a cover with a “hole”, the bear is sleeping in the hollow tree and through the “hole” a bunny is peeping in from the first page. And I knew I had to get the book when I opened it and saw that it was written in rhyme.

The story in itself is nice. I love picture books that DO have a story, and, oh, how many there are with some beautiful artwork with nothing to show for the content. Some have an excuse, the so-called touchy-feely kind, but even then, is it so hard to actually have a story to go with all the textures? (Ellie loves Puppy’s World by Hannah Wood but the book is empty, we just love to touch things 😀 )

Ok, returning back to the review of this book. Another thing me and Ellie like is the part where the bunny blows and blows and blows… I gently blow on Ellie’s face and she loooves it. And then there is the anticipation of the “surprise” Pop! on the next page.

And I love how the illustrator showed the bear to be so very big compared with the other animals by turning the pages vertically. A very clever touch.

One more thing I would like to mention is the font of the text. It’s very cute and some of the words are bigger in size so it helps to read the book putting the emphasis in the “right” places, which comes kind of naturally thanks to the word size variation.

All in all, a wonderful book about forest animals with a nice story and beautiful illustrations. Another must-have for any child’s bookshelf! 

5/5 stars


Next Book Review

While I am in the process of making the video review for The Gruffalo’s Child, here’s a list of books for the next review. Let me know which one you’d like to see in the next post! 😉


The Gruffalo’s Child – Book Review

T200px-thegruffaloschildhis is another book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler that brings back the Gruffalo and the clever little mouse. But here we also meet another adorable character. It turns out that the Gruffalo is a father to a sweet little monster, the Gruffalo’s Child.

“The Gruffalo said that no Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood…” While the Gruffalo is asleep, his little daughter is not sleepy at all and decides to head into the deep dark wood on a search for the big bad mouse, the one terribly-terrible creature the Gruffalo is afraid of.

This is a sweet cautionary tale where the Gruffalo’s Child (and the reader) meets all the characters from The Gruffalo, the owl, the fox, the snake, and, of course, the little mouse. And once more, the little mouse uses its wits to avoid being eaten. (yes, apparently mice are that tasty, everyone wants to eat them!  🙂 ) Instead of the mouse, the Gruffalo’s Child is the protagonist of this story and instead of describing the Gruffalo, here the Big Bad Mouse is portrayed as a huge creature with wiry whiskers and eyes like pools of terrible fire.

The ending of the story is great, the little monster does find the Big Bad Mouse which turns out to be a just shadow of the little mouse (the little monster does not know this and gets scared). This is great in teaching the little ones that even the scary things are not that scary after all if you know what they truly are.

The story is very easy to read. Even after the first time I could remember some lines (one in particular, “…and over his shoulder he carries a nut as big as a boulder…”). I have read that rhyming words promote speech development in children. The rhymes in this book are effortless, flowing and easy to remember. The repetition of some sentences is great, makes it easier to remember the rhymes and helps move the story from scene to scene.

But I must say that to be able to understand why the fox, the owl and the snake are scared of the little Gruffalo’s child when he asks them about the mouse you should read The Gruffalo to your child first. The beautiful illustrations compliment the story and are wonderfully done. One of the best children’s books on our list.

As with The Gruffalo, there is also an animated TV film based on the book, and as in the first film, a mother squirrel tells the story to her little children and acts as the narrator. It used the same text of the book and is beautifully voiced.

Another must-have on any child’s bookshelf.

5/5 stars


The Gruffalo – Book Review

Fairuse_GruffaloA wonderful rhyming story about a clever mouse and a monster called Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. As the mouse walks through the forest, he meets a fox, a snake, and an owl who each, in turn, invite him ‘for a meal’ (to be their meal, that is). To scare them off, he invents a fantastic creature and names it Gruffalo and describes him so true, that all the animals believe him to be real. But the mouse is in for a surprise, as it turns out the Gruffalo does exist. And when he does meet this adorable monster with terrible tusks and turned out toes, the mouse once again uses his wits and manages to convince Gruffalo that he, the mouse, is the scariest creature in the wood and that he simply loves a Gruffalo crumble.

Ellie loves nursery rhymes and this book has a marvelous rhyme and rhythm. It’s fun to read out loud, especially if you change your voice to suit all the characters of the story and see that amazing baby smile appear on your little one’s face. After reading it for a zillionth time, I know the story by heart and it makes it a great distraction during long car rides (yes, our baby is not like most babies, she does not sleep in the car!) or when changing a nappy. I often go through a couple of lines, especially, ‘A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…’ when we take Coco on a walk to a nature reserve and walk through the wooded areas.

We ended up buying the Gruffalo toy as well (they are expensive, as all toys are, but very worth the money!) and now, every time we read the story, we take the toy out. (It’s very funny when Ellie roars, holding the Gruffalo toy, as I tend to use a very hoarse kind of voice for Gruffalo lines.) In a toy store or in a bookshop you can easily find the toy versions of all the other characters (next one on our buy list is the mouse) and loads of other Gruffalo-related stuff.

There also is a TV adaptation of the book. I used the beautiful animation when teaching English to children (ages 5 to 9) and they absolutely loved it. Ellie is not so interested in the TV (yet…) so we stick with the book.

It’s a wonderful picture book. Definitely, a must have for any little person. Simply adorable!

5/5 stars