A great Brown Bear, cub on her back, bends down to tell a small brown teddy something about a bear. It’s a wonderful opening spread: the power and strength of the bear breathtakingly apparent, the richness and colour of her coat so beautifully rendered in water-colour that you want to run your fingers through it. Jackie Morris has put so much life and energy into the image we can almost hear the bear breathing. Each subsequent double page introduces the reader to another bear, depicted in their natural environment, and in the most beautiful and vivid images and text. We see the Spectacled Bear sunbathing through the heat of the day in the crowns of tall trees; the Sloth Bear, hunting termites and the honey hives of bees; the Moon Bear of Asia in the forest where it meets the snowline; and, possibly my favourite image, swimming through icy water, the great white Polar Bear. The lyrical text is a joy to read aloud, and conveys a great deal of information. There is much too to look for and talk about on each page, in particular the wild animals that share the bears’ habitats. The bears are brought together on the final spread to tell us that – of course – of all the bears in the wide wild world, the very best bear is your bear.
This is a book that children will pore over, and I can see it sparking a life-long interest in bears and nature. There’s a useful glossary to finish and links to conservation websites. Superb!