Five Bears


How is a friendly group of Five Bears possible? After all each seems quite different. What’s more, when Bear, ‘a nice bear by all accounts’ steps out that morning, it was for a solitary walk. Thereafter, Other Bear, who offers a ‘How do you do?‘ inspires Bear to follow him.

Although the pair ‘wander- along at different paces, thinking different thoughts, and looking in different directions’, it seems an amiable walk. However, they’re stopped in their tracks by an embarrassed Grunty Bear. Might the duo’s wishes for ‘a nice day’ inspire Grunty Bear to follow them? Thereafter, might he join in their surprise when they meet a Very Big Bear? Further, might the trio’s ‘friendly‘ greeting cause Very Big Bear to cast off his lonely feelings to follow? Then what of a Stuck Bear? Surely the four might talk, plan and encourage Stuck Bear down from his tree?

The repetition, sense of pace and travel, the dawning sense of community and togetherness are shown stirringly. There is an intelligent simplicity in this picture book. Catherine Rayner creates stories that linger, that are ideal to share, know well, return to and understand deeply. Alongside her glorious illustrations, her storytelling is quite sublime.

Bookwagon loves and recommends Five Bears highly to our readers.

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Five Bears

A tale of friendship

Catherine Rayner

(Pan Macmillan)- hardback

Bear, ‘a nice bear by all accounts‘, takes a walk and encounters Other Bear. This Bear offers that just ‘saying hello’ is for no reason. It inspires Bear to follow. Although each has ‘different paces, think[s] different thoughts and look[s] in different directions‘ they amble along agreeably. However, there is a New Bear. What’s more, although this is a Grunty Bear, the two become three, who travel along together. What might happen if the three encounter a Very Big Bear? Might they be abashed when this bear tells them to ‘Go away’. Or could it be that their friendliness inspires this Very Big Bear to join them? Thereafter, how might the four work together to help a Stuck Bear?
Like The Friendship Bench, Five Bears is an inspiring story of how we might forge bonds, however unlikely and then however great our differences. What’s more, through the progression and repetition included in this picture book, we realise how strong a unit might be as it forms. Thereafter, we recognise how each of us is different- from our pace and thoughts and even our reactions!
Award winning writer and illustrator Catherine Rayner offers a story of subtle strength, warmth and inclusivity. Bookwagon recommends Five Bears highly as a story to share, love, gift, know and treasure.


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