Name of Book: Horrible Bear!
Author: Ame Dyckman
Illustrator: Zachariah OHora
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company.
Audience: Early primary (Would be appropriate for 4-5 year olds also.)
Summary: A young girl finds herself feeling very angry when her kite lands in the cave of a bear. The bear unknowingly rolls over, and the kite is damaged. The girl proceeds to stomp all the way home, blaming the broken kite on the sleeping bear, calling it a ‘Horrible Bear’. When home, she finds that even she can make mistakes, and damages her own loved stuffed animal in her anger over the kite. She realizes sometimes things happen by accident, and no one is to blame. The bear seeks her out to confront her that he did nothing wrong, but is met at her door by the girl who apologizes right away. He helps fix her stuffed animal, and she is thankful to the bear. The ending does indicate that these circumstances will happen again.
Literary elements at work in the story: This fictional story has a plot of forgiveness and understanding that move through the characters in the story. It emphasizes the points of view of each character as the story unravels. It teaches a child that everyone has their own point of view and expectations, and we all choose how to react to the situation in which we find ourselves every moment. The themes of forgiveness and understanding are dominant as the story progresses to the end and beyond. The bold, brightly colored illustrations are conducive to the story that is told.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The simplicity of this story and theme does not reflect any particular cultural view. As the parent of a redhead, I was not enthused about the portrayal of a redhead as the central character- redheaded anger can sometimes be a cultural expectation, but the way it is dealt with in the story leads to learned behavior and listening to the world around us.
Theological Conversation Partners:
1 Kings 19:12 Elijah finds the voice of God in the still small voice.
Proverbs 15:1 (how we speak)
Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord’s Prayer (forgive us and others)
Faith Talk Questions
- Have you ever been able to tell how someone is feeling by the footsteps as they come toward or away from you?
- Have you ever been able to tell who is coming by the sound of their footsteps?
- Have you ever been surprised by the kindness of someone you didn’t expect to be kind to you? How does it make you feel to find someone can be a friend you did not think liked you at all?
- What can we do when we confront someone with whom we are angry ? How can we listen to each person we interact with each day?
The book review this week is written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Patricia Freshney McKee.
Horrible Bear! by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.