Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Bearly There is a children's picture book written by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Jill Carter-Hansen and published by Australia's Windy Hollow Books.
Bearly There had been Blake’s teddy forever. Which is why he was barely there. But when a naughty new teddy arrives on the scene, Bearly’s world changes forever. Bearly There is an exquisitely humorous story about a boy and his bears, about new friends and old, about love and loyalty.
I enjoyed this story about a ragged, holey teddy named Bearly. It reminded me of my own dilapidated and much-loved companion called Ted. Like Bearly, Ted suffered many indignities, but I don't think he ever suffered as much as Bearly. You see, Blake's Aunt Phelicia gives him a brand new bear named Winston, and not just a new bear, a technological marvel that can talk. Winston is so naughty that he pushes Bearly out the window. Blake is heartbroken. Can there be room in Blake's heart and life for two teddy bears?
Our society is prone to judging by appearances. We all do it, kids too. I like that Bearly There makes us think about the wisdom of throwing something away just because it isn't the latest, the glossiest, the most perfect. Darlison has given us drama that kids will understand and relate to with Blake losing his beloved teddy bear. I believe they will appreciate the happy and satisfying resolution to the story too.
Carter-Hansen has chosen to use a limited palette of black and red on white in her illustrations. The smudged charcoal in some sketches really adds to the softness and textural appeal of the bears. Kids will enjoy examining the illustrations and experimenting with a limited palette in their own creations.
With Teddy Bear's Picnic day coming on July 10 - here's my post, Let's Celebrate Teddy Bear's Picnic Day! - you have time to buy this charming children's picture book for home, school or library. Windy Hollow Books have added value to Bearly There with teacher notes.
Discover more about Aleesah Darlison's writing in Children's Book Review, Totally Twins, Children's Book Review, Unicorn Riders: Quinn's Riddles, and What's the Go with Pokemon?
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