By Jan Carr,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Girl blames bear in funny story about anger and forgiveness.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Modeling of reading throughout: The girl reads a book, and the bear has a stack of books on his table, titles showing. There are other words in the art: The bear has lettering on his T-shirt, there's a "Welcome" mat, a "Mail" label on a mail slot, and repeated speech balloons with "HORRIBLE BEAR!" and "RAWR!"
It's natural to feel anger and assign blame when something breaks or goes wrong, but we all break things. Apologizing to someone makes them feel better and can defuse the anger.
Positive Role Models
Both the girl and the bear are pictured as readers with books. The girl models strategies for working out anger -- drawing, reading, talking to a friend. When the girl realizes her mistake, she apologizes promptly. The bear accepts her apology immediately and becomes helpful and sweet.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora, the same team that collaborated on bestselling Wolfie the Bunny, is a funny book about a small accident with a broken kite and the anger and finger-pointing that result. When a girl's kite drops into a bear's cave, the bear rolls over on it and it breaks. The girl blames the bear and stomps home shouting, "HORRIBLE BEAR!" But the bear is equally upset since the girl woke him up making a ruckus, and anyway it wasn't his fault! To blame is human, to forgive divine, and all ends well when the girl realizes how easily accidents happen.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
Highly entertaining 'message' book
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What's the Story?
In HORRIBLE BEAR!, a girl's kite gets broken by accident when it falls into a bear's cave. Girl blames Bear -- "HORRIBLE BEAR!" -- and Bear is angry at the girl for blaming and disturbing him -- "RAWR!" But all the anger is defused when the girl breaks something herself and, after realizing how easy it is to have an accident, apologizes to Bear: "And all the horrible went right out of Bear." Together, they skip through the meadow, bounce up the mountain, patch the kite, and "Nothing was horrible at all … ." Bear then comes up with some "Sweet Bear ideas," as does the girl -- though the reader sees that -- uh, oh! -- a goat's now munching on the kite string.
Is It Any Good?
Readers will recognize themselves and learn a thing or two about strong emotions in this fun, colorful story about the runaway force of anger and the disarming power of forgiveness. Author Dyckman has a knack for combining humor with emotional truths, and illustrator OHora delivers a charming spitfire of a character with a mess of red curls as unruly as her emotions. The girl's angry at the bear, the bear's angry at the girl, and both of them stomp and shout. The story turns and illustration are lots of fun -- haven't we all felt anger at friends? -- and kids can chime in as the girl shouts "HORRIBLE BEAR!" and the bear growls "RAWR!"
There are jokes embedded in the art, with pictures of books about bears and a cameo from Dyckman/OHora's Wolfie the Bunny, and the book cleverly sidesteps a too-pat happy ending by showing another mishap-in-the-making: After the girl and bear mend the kite, we see a goat nibbling on it.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about anger. How do you feel when a friend breaks something? When you break something? Is it easy to break things by accident?
When does the story actually start? Look at the dedication and title pages. What happens in the art?
Which references to other stories can you find in the art? How many bear books do you see? Can you spot the picture of Wolfie the Bunny?
- Author: Ame Dyckman
- Illustrator: Zachariah OHora
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publishers: Little, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: April 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 6
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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