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We're not scared!
We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
Member Name: Ann-Marie_B
We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
Advantages: Wonderful interactive story, repetition makes it easy for children to join in with
Disadvantages: Illustrations are a little lacking
Our little local library have begun to have a sale of some of their older or slightly damaged books. My children, who are three and one, adore their book collections. They love nothing more at the moment than to visit the library and search through the books on sale for suitable ones to buy. At just 10p each I always oblige. Earlier this week, we purchased eight books for a grand total of 80p and one of them, which has proven to be a favourite, was We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
The version of this book that we have is in paperback format and the language is in both English and in Urdu. Being only English speaking, this has no immediate benefit to us, but as this was the version on sale, my children promptly snapped it up.
As well as being available in 17 dual language editions, we're Going on a Bear Hunt is also available in both paperback, hardcover and board book formats as well as versions which come with either a CD or a DVD. The basic paperback version, in English only is currently on sale on Amazon at just £3.49. The board book however is priced a little lower at £2.19. The paperback with a DVD is priced at £4.42 and with a CD is currently £3.50. The copy which we have, which has both English and Urdu is priced at £7.50, as is another which has Gujarati and English. It seems somewhat unreasonable that these should be priced far higher than those with CD's and DVD's. Maybe there are less of them made and a higher publication cost?
We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic tale of a family who set out to find a bear. Along the way they encounter many obstacles such as long grass, a river, squelchy mud, a dense forest and eventually a cave where the bear is discovered. The family then race back home and vow to never go on another bear hunt.
The format of the story is very repetitive which is beneficial to young readers who can predict what is coming next and join in with the words. Each page begins with "We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. We're not scared!" We then encounter an obstacle and decide "Oh no! We've got to go through it!" The following page is then rather simply a picture of the family going through their obstacle and the sound each one makes. For instance as they venture through the tall grass the book reads "Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!"
The illustrations throughout the book, by Helen Oxenbury, are not particularly attractive. The front page is so plain that it does not stand out in any way and does not draw the reader in. This book was initially overlooked as the cover just did not stand out as a good and interesting children's book. The use of colour within is also very dull, in fact, there is only colour on every other page, the illustrations on the pages in between are simply black and white. The pictures are sketch-like and those that are in colour are watercolour paintings with rather muted colours. I personally feel that better illustrations would do such an endearing story far more justice.
As mentioned previously, from the eight books that we chose yesterday, this particular one has been a favourite with both my son and my daughter. They seem to very much enjoy the repetition of the story and my eldest child, my three-year-old son, happily joins in with the words. We have also acted out our own bear hunt around the house, cue much hysterical giggling from both of them! Very few books can be played out in such a way as this one.
Being available in so many formats, as well as in 17 dual languages is also a huge benefit which makes this book accessible to far more children.
My eldest has not yet questioned the presence of the Urdu writing in this book. Though that is a subject that I can broach with him at some point as he already understands to some degree that there are different spoken languages.
This story is in my opinion faultless. It is beautifully written and highly engaging. It is also interactive as the story can be played out without the book afterwards. The only slight drawback for me is the illustrative work, which in my opinion is somewhat of a letdown for the wonderful story within.
Summary: A wonderful story to share and act out with your children!
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