Tuesday 16 February 2016

Bear Make Den

Bear Make Den by Jane Godwin, Michael Wagner and Andrew Joyner (Allen & Unwin 2016)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN: 9781760110017

Reviewed by Jade Harmer

Meet Bear, a lovable, can-do kind of a guy sporting a broad smile and a pair of blue overalls. Bear has a simple plan to build himself a den. He has a reference book that tells him how to go about it, but he also has a problem. No matter what he does, his den just never feels done.

Something’s missing from Bear’s new home, but it takes him a while to figure out exactly what…

Bear Make Den – a new picture book from Jane Godwin, Michael Wagner and Andrew Joyner – will delight readers and listeners alike as Bear leaves no stone unturned in trying to solve his problem.

He crafts bespoke furniture, bakes swoon-worthy cakes and paints his walls with fine works of art before he finally realises exactly what his den needs.
He yells into the seemingly lonely woods: “DEN NEED BEARS!”, and when his new-found bear friends arrive in droves to share his hospitality, Bear finally feels satisfied that his den is done.

I’m always blown away by the deceptive simplicity of a good picture book and this creation is no exception. The language provided by Godwin and Wagner plus Joyner’s vibrant and playful illustrations enhance Bear’s journey and the happiness and warmth he finds in companionship.

When read aloud, I have little doubt that Bear Make Den will be a hit with pre-schoolers as they guess what Bear might try next and simple, rhythmic language and effortless appeal make this a terrific choice for encouraging new and reluctant readers.

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