Title: Not So Scary Bear
Author: Ruth Waters
Published: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Windy Hollow Books
Genres: Children (2+)
Rating: 4 stars
Every day Scary Bear roams the forest looking for animals to scare. Every night he roared so loudly even the leaves on the trees shake. But looks can be deceiving.
What is Scary Bear’s secret?
Not So Scary Bear is a tale of deception, friendship, and of being yourself, scary or not.
Not So Scary Bear, a book both written and illustrated by Ruth Waters, was a gift from the author to her son for his 2nd birthday. Now Ruth Waters passes on her son’s gift to the wider reading community, with her thoughtful and delightful picture book. Not So Scary Bear, isn’t a scary read at all, in fact, it is the story of a bear all families that select this adorable book will soon love.
Scary Bear tries to do all the things scary bears are meant to do. He moves through the forest every day, hoping to scare as many animals that inhabit the forest as he can. He roars and growls are so powerful they can be heard all the way through the forest, leaving the poor leaves on the trees to shake. But, Scary Bear is a special bear. He has a secret passion. When we learn of Scary Bear’s other interests we see him in a whole new light. Not So Scary Bear is a gentle tale that serves to remind us that it is important to be true to yourself and along the way you might make a friend or two!
Not So Scary Bear is the debut picture book by Ruth Waters and I found it to be a sweet story book, that is sure to go down well in any household or early child setting. I would say this book is absolutely perfect for the bedtime reading ritual in households and for an adult to share this wonderful picture book experience with their child would be blessing. It is a book that brought much joy to my own household and I enjoyed the experience of sharing this picture book with my own Mr 5. The preschool age child would be the ideal target audience of this book.
From an educational angle, I feel there are a number of learning opportunities that can be drawn directly from Not So Scary Bear. This book could be easily combined with a study on bears, forest animals and woodland habitats. On the other side, it is the perfect book to subtly educate a child on the value of friendship, teaching bravery as well as resiliency and learning to accept yourself. The big theme that I was able to draw from this book was the importance of challenging stereotypes and expected behaviours that are attached to who we are. Although the storyline is simple, there is a broader and educative message underlining the presentation of the text.
Ruth Waters is another author who dazzled me in her ability to deftly combine her prose work in this picture book, with her own illustrations. Not So Scary Bear is a visual spectacular. The artwork and illustrations that appear in this book are vibrant and appealing. Waters has also gone to great lengths to ensure that her selected prose matches the detailed illustrations in her book. The collage style illustrations transfer well to the pages of this book and I found the overall picture experience palatable.
Casting a ‘scary bear’ in the lead of this book is a great move on behalf of the author, Ruth Waters. Even as adults we have our natural construction of a bear in our minds as scary, always growling and rather unfriendly. Scary Bear is different from the norm and I liked that about this book. I also liked that Waters went that one step further and challenged our beliefs of other common animals, such as a not so wise owl, a not so cunning fox and a not so quiet mouse. What an ingenious approach to character deconstruction! I am sure with interesting non bear pursuits such as knitting and star gazing, any little reading adventurer will be inspired to try one of these activities and be just like Scary Bear!
Not So Scary Bear is a book to love and embrace. It is a cute and considerate picture book that will enhance your family’s reading time.
Not So Scary Bear by Ruth Waters was published on 1st May 2018 by Windy Hollow Books. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Not So Scary Bear, Ruth Waters, visit here.
*I wish to thank the author, Ruth Waters for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Not So Scary Bear is book #71 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge