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The Bear Necessities – 9 Of The Best Books For Grizzly-Loving Kids

From There's a Bear in My Chair to Grrrrr! and Hands off my Honey! here are some of our favourite recent tales of grizzlies, polars and even cuddly teddies.

  • The Bear Necessities – 9 Of The Best Books For Grizzly-Loving Kids


This is irrefutable. It’s beyond all doubt. Kids love them. Adults love them. Bears love them. Salmon…well, salmon are probably less keen on bears, but what do they know?

These picnic-basket bothering behemoths love nothing more than living a lazy life of food, sleep and cuddles (no matter how much my local zoo tell me otherwise on that last one).

I mean, just look at them.

Exhibit A


Exhibit B


Exhibit C

Even the animated ones are delightful.

Words to live by

Naturally, given the historical popularity of teddy bears, there are many children’s books that feature lovable Ursidae, the most famous of which include Paddington, Rupert, Baloo and Winnie-the-Pooh, but we’ve picked out some recent gems that you may not have used in your setting before.

Hopefully, you and your children can find a new bear to love as much as this cat loves its own cuddly companion:

1. Otto the Book Bear

Katie Cleminson (Random House Children’s, paperback, £5.99)
Katie Cleminson’s enchanting story of a bear who becomes separated from the book that has always been his home, and his search for a new place to live, seems particularly relevant right now, published as it is at a time when our national libraries (one of which eventually proves to be the perfect environment for Otto) are under such threat.

Review: Otto the Book Bear

2. Where Bear?

Sophie Henn (Puffin Books, hardback, £11.99)
The thing about bear cubs – adorable and cuddly though they may well be – is that they grow up to become bears. And bears don’t belong in houses. That’s the dilemma facing the young boy at the heart of this enchanting title by Sophie Henn; when his cute little companion becomes just a bit too bearish to carry on living in the family home, our hero has to help his ursine chum find a new place to be. But where?

Review: Where Bear?

3. Hands off my Honey!

Jane Chapman (Little Tiger Press, paperback, £5.99)
When a big, scary bear announces that he has an enormous jar of honey and he’s not going to share it with anyone else, who on earth would be bold – or daft – enough to plan a raid on the terrifying animal’s precious stash of liquid gold? Well, in this story, a group of intrepid, albeit diminutive, forest creatures apparently set out to do exactly that, inspired and led by Mouse, the smallest of them all.

Review: Hands off my Honey!

4. There’s a Bear on my Chair

Ross Collins (Nosy Crow, paperback, £6.99)
It’s such a simple idea, playing on a feeling that most children will recognise: the very specific sense of impotent frustration that is felt when someone else is sitting on a chair you know, but cannot exactly prove, is ‘yours’. Ross Collins captures the increasing irritation of the mouse who is convinced his place has been usurped with affectionate accuracy – and the little rodent’s righteous indignation is even more hilarious as it becomes clear that the polar bear with whom he is so outraged is utterly oblivious of his existence, let alone his claim on the seat in question.

Review: There’s a Bear on my Chair

5. Two Little Bears

Suzi Moore (Bloomsbury, paperback, £10.99)

One of them lives in the green mountains, and the other in a frosty snowscape – yet little brown bear and little snow bear have much in common; and when the pair finally meet, a wonderfully natural friendship develops.

Review: Two Little Bears

6. Grrrrr!

Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins, paperback, £6.99)
Journey into the woods to meet a bear who is convinced that being first is the most important thing there is. Fred works hard to be a champion in every competition, and he has the medals to prove it. He’s too busy training to have any actual friends, of course; but he has cabinet full of trophies, and that’s surely better, right?

Review: Grrrrr!

7. Boris Saves the Show

Carrie Weston (Oxford University, hardback, £11.99)
‘All different, all special’ says the sign on the wall in Miss Cluck’s preschool classroom – but Boris the enormous grizzly bear is clearly just a little more different than most when lined up next to the small and rather dainty collection of woodland creatures who make up the rest of his cohort.

Review: Boris Saves the Show

8. The Great Aaa-ooo!

Jonny Lambert (Little Tiger Press, hardback, £10.99)
Whilst quiet listening can be lovely, a chance for the audience to yell and shout as the plot unfolds is sometimes exactly what’s needed, and Jonny Lambert’s fun tale of a mysterious, scary sound that leads to all kinds of confusion amongst the creatures who live in the ‘dark, rackety wood’ certainly fits the bill.

Review: The Great Aaa-ooo!

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