Book review: Never Take a Bear to school by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup.

Little One is due to start nursery in September and my radar is on for schoolish books. On a recent library visit this gorgeous book was waiting to be read.

Never Take a Bear to a School is a funny, upbeat rhyming page turner that is such a treat. Different from other “starting school” books it is a mixture of humour, empathy and encouragement.

The story begins with a red bear beautifully illustrated driving a little boy into school. “It might seem unfair and slightly unkind But there are very good reasons to leave him (the bear) behind.”

It introduces different things that happen in a school which for Little One is an eye opener. The red bear is seen jumping on a trampoline, eating in the school lunch room and sitting at a desk but each time he’s acting as a bear doing things that may seem comical but are clumsy and he is causing a stir, “No, it just isn’t done!”

The story then continues sensitively explaining that although you may feel a little wobbly about school, there is lots of fun to be had.

Being at school may mean that your bear is not with you but …”though you have missed him, just like he’s missed you, You’ve made lots of friends and learnt something too.”

The adorable illustrations by Brittany Teckentrup stand out amongst the plain bold backgrounds on each page. The primary colours chosen have a retro feel and the monochromatic images are a delight. Unlike the red bear all the skin of the children in the book are grey scaled with circles for rosy cheeks and perfectly formed dot eyes.

The children in the book are representative of ethnic minorities showing a Sikh boy with a a red turban on and a Muslim girl wearing a green hijab. They are all just part of the little boys class, having lots of fun.

The text is child friendly and the rhyming throughout the book makes a fun and memorable read.

Little One has really enjoyed reading this book and I love it too.
If you want to enjoy a book with your young ones that is encouraging about new school beginnings and is reassuring for those little hearts, this is the one for you.


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