Thursday 18 February 2016

I Am Bear

I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith, illustrated by Sav Akyuz (Walker Books)
HC RRP $27.99
ISBN 9781406359251

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Is this a rapping picture book? You may well ask. This is the first of its kind that I have come across. It has a free music video to it that you can listen to and hear the rhythm with which the book must be read. I understood it better after hearing it sung.

Bear is cheeky and naughty. He steals honey from the hive and squirrels from the trees. His magical ability extends to catching piles of fish, and disappearing. Policemen with donuts aren’t exempt from this trickster’s net. He loves to play, and paint. And when it’s time to pay for the trouble he’s caused, he’s gone!

It’s a debut book for Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown the rapper, actor and much more. It is in rhyme and has an astonishingly good sound to it both when read and sung. His clever use of words is similar to a juggler tossing balls. They come and go fast, leaping from one page to the next.

The illustrator has done a fantastic job portraying the cheeky bear. He’s translated the text perfectly with thick bold lines, vibrant colour, soulful expressions, and full page artwork.

I found this book highly entertaining, funny, clever and highly attractive in presentation. Kids will love it.

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