Another Book About Bears
Another Book About Bears
Err, bear, you’re kind of interrupting my story. What’s the problem?
Do you know how many books have been written about us? I’ll tell you . . . too many! Whenever you open up a book about a bear, we have to perform the story for you . . . Even if we’re in the middle of something really good — like sleeping, snoozing or napping — we have to jump up and do whatever the books says. Why do you like reading about bears so much? We’re not so great. We’re often greedy . . . grumpy . . . lazy . . . and a bit ferocious. And we’re exhausted! We are sick of doing all the work.
And so begins Another Book About Bears, a clever, uproariously funny picture book by Australian husband-and-wife team Philip and Laura Bunting. Written by Laura and illustrated by Philip, this laugh-out-loud, 32-page book has readers discovering “the grizzly truth in this bear-all account” of one overtly frustrated, overworked bear’s resignation from his lead role and his attempts to finally break free from the insufferable anthropomorphic cycle by offloading the lopsided burden he feels his species continually carries in storyland.
In this witty, interactive ode to pooped bears everywhere, the humorous banter between the storyteller and the bear takes centre stage, with the storyteller trying to carry on despite the lack of cooperation from the bears and finally resorting to pressure and shaming tactics to keep them. “The children cried and cried when their favourite character turned out to be a big, selfish meanie,” says the storyteller. “Oh, that’s low,” says the bear. And so, the desperate bear strikes a deal. “How about this … if I can find a better animal to star in your books, you’ll leave us alone. No more books about bears. Deal?” The storyteller agrees: “Okay. Deal.”
What ensues is a fanciful and imaginative presentation that has the bear showcasing no fewer than 21 creatures the bear knows in this ursine attempt to persuade the storyteller to accept one of them as the new lead animal. “Marmoset?” offers the bear. “Too crazy,” says the storyteller. “Dodo?” says the bear. “Too extinct,” says the storyteller. “Kangaroo?” The storyteller: “Too jumpy.” The bear then recommends a gazelle. “Too scaredy,” replies the storyteller. The bear’s last offer: “Blobfish?” “Seriously?” retorts the storyteller. After the bears runs out of suggestions, the storyteller tells the bear: “No other animal has quite what it takes to star in all those good books . . . The fact is . . . bears are just right.” But the bear refuses to give up and provides one hilarious last-ditch effort to persuade the storyteller and give his comrades, who can’t “bear it anymore,” a “well-deserved break.”
Philip’s magical, visually brilliant illustrations expertly complement Laura’s silly dialogue and amusing turns of phrase, further drawing the reader into this joyful tale with a relatable premise. And it’s in Philip’s adept capturing of the facial expressions and body positions of each delightful character offering where this multiple-award-winning illustrator’s talent shines the brightest. Through an engaging combination of single- and double-page spreads — all featuring bold colours and simple yet engaging and life-like images — the Buntings have created an original and memorable story, a terrific tale that will enchant all readers.
Thanks to Laura’s charming prose and Philip’s quirky, one-of-a-kind artwork, their work effortlessly encourages lighthearted interaction between child and reader, creating a priceless platform for intergenerational learning, rich connection and conversation, and plain old fun. Another Book About Bears will definitely spark imaginations everywhere it’s read, instilling a love of reading and strengthening literacy skills, especially in those of reluctant readers. This giggle-worthy must-read is sure to become a classic favourite that’s requested and then pulled down from the bookshelf time and again!
Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto, Ontario-based freelance editor, proofreader, writer and mentor, and her company is Planet Word. She adores books about bears and hopes they never quit or retire.