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This book is the latest offering from my daughters school for us to read, we get two books a week from the school and so get to read each one three or four times that is of course as long as my daughter enjoys the book. This book can be bought on Amazon for £4.79 or £6.39 with an audio CD.
Itchy Bear is written by Neil Griffiths who was originally a teacher and writes books exclusively for Red Robin Books. The book was first published in 2002 with it being reprinted in 2007, the book is beautifully illustrated by Judith Blake.
The front cover of the book is very simple and inviting, it shows the main character of the book a bear who is stood on the front cover trying to get rid of his itch. The background is a grassed area with flowers and little animals and is mainly based around the colour green. The title of the book is written in big bold lettering in a darker green making it stand out really well.
The story begins with bear fast asleep in amongst the flowers when he begins to itch, the itch moves around his body and although it isn't pointed out from the wording of the book the itching is being caused by a little butterfly landing on different parts of his body. The bear begins to look for ways he can scratch and starts by rubbing his bum on a big rock but this disturbs a mole and the bear gets told to go elsewhere. The bear then decides to try using a branch off a tree to scratch his neck but this disturbs an owl and he is told to move on from there too. The poor bear goes through the book unable to get a good scratch as there is always someone he is disturbing until finally he finds a tree and checking very carefully that there is no one for him to disturb he uses the tree to scratch ending the book with a tonne of apples falling on him.
The illustrations in this book are lovely, each page is based on a background of grass, flowers and little creepy crawlies in wonderful pastel colours rather than being too bold and bright. The pictures show exactly what is being told with the words with added extras such as seeing the butterfly which is causing the itch, my daughter found it amusing that she could see the butterfly but the poor bear doesn't know why he is itching. I like that the pictures are simple enough for childrens but also have detailing such as different types of leaves and all the trees aren't the same colour so the pictures are actually realistic too.
Both myself and my daughter loved this book, you feel sorry for the poor bear but it is also quite funny too. We tried to guess what animal the bear would disturb when he picked his next place to scratch although we didn't manage it and we didn't predict the ending either. This book is great for young children just starting out with the ideas of reading as the words are quite repetitive and some sentences are repeated on a couple of pages making it easy for the child to know what is coming next. The story wa very simple but kept my daughters attention and we read it every night we had it so it was certainly a hit, personally it remind me of Baloo the bear and the bear necessities in Jungle Book.