Thursday 12 January 2023

The Nightingale and the Bear

The Nightingale and the Bear by Dorien van ‘t Ende (Resilient Hedgehog) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN: 9781914611049

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

Deep in the forest,

far away from it all,

stood a beautiful pine tree,

majestic and tall.

In this pine tree lived a community of tiny nightingales. Many other creatures lived in and around the forest, including a bear – a bear who wanted it all to himself.

Can you see where this is going? Does it sound familiar – either on a personal level or on a world level?

The nightingales, despite their size, were full of ‘courage and pride’. Angered by the determination of the nightingales, the bear fought – ‘he punched, and he hit’ and all but destroyed the home of the nightingales.

But still, the tiny birds stayed, supported by the forest animals who all knew the bear was in the wrong.

Eventually, and reluctantly, the bear admitted defeat, leaving destruction and turmoil in his wake. The nightingales, however, remained strong and positive that time would heal the wounds sustained at the hands of the bear. 

Inspired by the heartbreaking events surrounding the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, The Nightingale and the Bear could be the story of any invasion – country against country, or individual against individual – and can be read on any level.

At its heart, The Nightingale and the Bear was written to inspire resilience and positivity in the face of any situation that threatens to go against you. Apart from the narrative, the book also includes information about the Mental Toughness Framework, suggestions on how to use the book at home or in the classroom, and a series of questions to further explore the story and its themes.

The author, Dorien van ‘t Ende, donated her time to write this inspirational and heart-warming story, as did the team of twelve illustrators. All proceeds from the sale of the book have been pledged to the Disasters Emergency Committee, for distribution to humanitarian agencies working with Ukrainian victims of Russia’s war.

Written for children aged 3–8 years, The Nightingale and the Bear will, nevertheless, touch the hearts of readers of any age – indeed, anyone who knows the power of standing up for issues that are important to you.

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