Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Bear Hug

Oldland, Nicholas. 2009. Big Bear Hug. Kids Can Press. September 2009.

There once was a bear so filled with love and happiness that whenever he roamed the forest and came across another living thing, he would give it a hug.

I didn't like this one. I'm not sure if that's because I'm being cranky. Or if there is something just a teeny bit too goody-goody about this one. Part of me felt this was one a bit didactic, that it tried too hard to get its feel-good message across. The book features a friendly bear that hugs anything and everything. (He reminded me of Garfield's Buddy Bears if I'm being honest.) He hugs animals--big, small, scary or tame--and trees. He loves, loves, loves to hug trees in all shapes and sizes.

But one day he comes across someone that he absolutely does not want to hug. A man with an axe. A man in the act of chopping down a tree.

He realized that no matter how angry he was, he simply could not eat the man. It just wasn't in his nature. The bear sighed. And then he decided to do what he did best.

But though he's tempted to act like a bear--a regular bear that is--he decides that love is the best medicine. He gives the man a nice hug, and he runs away leaving the axe behind. The bear then hugs the tree so that it will "feel better."

This is a self-proclaimed, "environmental fable." While I didn't like it overall, I did think the writing worked well in places. I liked the rhythm of it.

The bear never met a tree he did not like.
Big trees...
Little trees...
Apple trees...
Pear trees...
Peach trees...
The bear hugged them all.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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