The Bears We Know by Brenda Silsbe

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Stars: ***

Annick Press (2009)
32 pages Ages 4-7
Illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen

I got this book for review from Annick Press. The idea behind it is to show how much people sometimes make up about people they don’t know. No one’s ever SEEN the Bears but they (the narrators) know all about who they are and what they do. I think the idea was to introduce children to the mistaken belief that we can possibly know who people are and what they do without having met them or gotten to know them well. However I don’t think it quite worked as well as it should have.

The beginning, after describing the house, goes like this:

“We have never seen the bears, but we know they are there. And we know what they do.”

and at the end it goes like this:

“People ask us how we know so much about the bears when we’ve never seen them. Well… some things you just know.”

The rest of the book is the narrators (whom we never learn anything about nor see but sounds like the voice of a child) explanation of the bears and what they look like and what they do. Things like sleeping late, getting old furniture from the dump, eating potato chips, singing, making a mess etc…. Not once does anyone suggest that these assumptions may be false. I think we’re supposed to figure that out for ourselves, but I don’t believe a child 4-7 would get it.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.