#blogbookaday: Middle Bear

15 Mar

34220849.jpgSummary:  “He was the second of three brothers. He was not big, but he was not small, either. Neither strong nor weak, neither tall nor short, neither a lot nor a little … He was the middle one.”  Everything about life with his brothers was middle-sized. And when you’re always in the middle, sometimes it’s hard to feel special. But then, one day the cubs’ parents fell ill, and their mother asked them to fetch some medicinal bark from a willow tree on the top of a mountain. When it turned out that this very important task could only be done by a cub of his middle size, he finally realized how special it was to be the middle one.

Author Susanna Isern’s lovely, melodic picture book tale — with a delightful use of repetition throughout — offers an upbeat and positive message to middle children everywhere. It’s a subject that is not often addressed in this format. With its hero’s quest theme, the story has the feel of a modern-day fairy tale. Manon Gauthier’s spare artwork and understated palette perfectly capture the poignancy of the bear cub’s emotional journey. Though the book focuses on the role of middle children, it really celebrates every child’s efforts toward self-discovery, as they seek out their own special place in the world. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the character education subject of perseverance or a lesson on empathy. “(Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Middle Bear was exactly that in the middle between two siblings, neither big nor small, neither a lot nor a little, he was just in the middle. But when his parents need help, he soon realizes that being in the middle is sometimes exactly where you need to be. This was an interesting story about middle children and finding where you fit in the family. I found both the text and illustrations to be different enough to believe that the author and illustrator were not American and I was right – the author is Spanish and the illustrator is Canadian. I like the experience of translated titles and artistic styles that are different from ones typically seen in the U.S.

Personal Reaction: The style of this book is very different from other books I’ve seen with a dark palette and rough sketched drawings. I really enjoyed the cut paper collage aspect of the illustrations and also enjoyed the repetitive aspects of the text that are comforting and expected as the story progressed.

Title: Middle Bear
Author: Susanna Isern
Illustrator: Manon Gauthier
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


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