Five Bears: A Tale of Friendship
Making friends is a tricky business. What makes one person like another? The deceptively simple storyline of this book helps to explain how friendships begin. Here is a story with diversity at its heart. Five very different bears meet: black bear, curly bear, black and white grunty bear, a very big brown bear, and a stuck-up white bear. Do they know one another? No, they have never met. Do they like one another? Not particularly. In fact, their indifference to one another is marked.
Rayner’s talent is recognised in the perfect alignment of drawing with text. The fine artwork is conveyed through pencil drawings of the bears overlaid with watercolour in single- and double-page spreads. The white page background adds to the clarity of the images while the text is simple and easy to read, making it a good starter book for a beginner reader. Five very diverse bears must become a team to solve one bear’s dilemma. The message “some things are hard on your own” is well said. Friendship makes the bears realise they “all just like each other”. It is that warm glow of friendship we feel when others are kind to us.
This is a well-designed book with its hardback cover in a square shape. The endpaper motif of colourful maple leaves is repeated towards the end of the book giving the pages a warmth which contrasts with the earlier whiteness and reflects expanding friendship. A skillfully creative book which would help prepare a nervous child for playschool or school.