The focus of this book review is The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland.
This book is one of a collection of 5 books:
- The Very Cranky Bear
- The Very Noisy Bear
- The Very Itchy Bear
- The Very Hungry Bear
- The Very Brave Bear
I absolutely love this collection (hard to say which one is my favourite). The illustrations are wonderfully artistic, detailed and expressive. This series is a must for all family book collections.
The books have interesting plots and the rhyming language is a joy to read.
“In the jingle jangle jungle on a wet and windy day, four little friends meet a very cranky bear. Can they cheer him up?”
The other titles in the collection follow the cranky bear (who is also very brave, itchy, noisy and hungry) through adventures and problem solving scenarios with the four little friends (moose, lion, zebra and sheep).
Suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and early school-age.
What I love about these books
The Cranky Bear series would be my own personal favourite reads in my daughter’s collection of books.
They are written with a sing-song rhyme which makes them an easy read and gives the reader good opportunity to add tone and interest to the story.
The illustrations are highly detailed, giving extra interest to the already captivating story.
They are a perfect trifecta of language, story structure and illustration – making for an enjoyable storytime every time.
There are also some subtle messages to each of the stories which make for good “teaching moments” with the kids, and also for parents to reflect on their own behaviour.
My favourite moments
My favourite moments in these books include:
- The logic of the “four little friends” that the bear would only be happy if they gave him things that made them happy (learning a bit about empathy and self-centredness) – The Very Cranky Bear
- Bear working really hard to find Polar Bear a home in trade for his pile of delicious fish – The Very Hungry Bear.
- The competitiveness of Bear and Buffalo to “one-up” each other, only to be scared off by a tiny little frog – The Very Brave Bear.
- Bear has a go at all the different instruments with not great success, until he uses his voice as an instrument! After a rocking day, he finds solace in the violin – The Very Noisy Bear.
Storytime Tips and Activities
- Find a reading pace that works for you and your child. It is easy to get a bit carried away with these books because they have been very well written. It is difficult to keep the enthusiam for the rhyme if you have to stop often to explain/discuss with the child. Try to read at a slower pace if necessary, that way you can keep the flow of reading and your child can still understand the story.
- There are a few larger/more complex words and sentences in these stories, so take the time to go back after you’ve read the story to explain them to your child.
- Take the time after reading the story to discuss why the bear/furry friends acted a certain way and did things they way they did. This can help teach your child more about empathy and behaviour.