The Very Cranky Bear – how to cheer up a big cranky dude

th-2Four friendly animals befriend a cranky bear.


Bibliographic Info:  Bland, Nick  The Very Cranky Bear  Orchard Books (2014) 32pp.  Formats: Hardcover ISBN 978-0545612692  $16.99,  Paperback, Board Book, iBook, Kindle, App (WheelbarrowGrade Level Equivalent: 2.9  Interest Level: PreK-K  Genre: Humor  Themes: Understanding, Empathy, Kindness, Friendship, Sharing


Summary:  Four animals find a dry cave on a rainy day and realize that a sleeping bear lives there. The bear’s roar drives the animals away (but not for long).  The friends attempt to cheer up the cranky bear (each in their own way).  While Bear is asleep, Moose gives him antlers, Lion gives him a mane and Zebra gives him stripes.  But, is there anything the friends can do to actually help Bear snooze?  Leave it to little Sheep who has a big gift for empathy!  Nick Bland’s emotionally expressive illustrations bring the well-meaning characters to life.


StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1The Very Cranky Bear was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on April 18th, 2015.  This book has been selected for the PictureBookWOW, Picture eBookWOW and AppWOW collections on this site.


thReview:  In the “Jingle Jangle Jungle”, four funny animals wake up a cranky bear.  Instead of taking off, they decide to try and cheer up the big grumpy guy.  Moose, Lion, and Zebra give Bear antlers, a mane, and stripes — awesome stuff that will surely make him will feel better!  Nope.  Sheep’s empathy saves the day.  She makes a pillow with her wool to help Bear sleep (and it works). This rhyming story features a fun and bouncy rhythm that makes it great for reading aloud.  Bland’s animal  illustrations are hilariously exaggerated.

th-3Storytime:  The Very Cranky Bear is an upbeat and bouncy rhyming story that is great for storytime (especially in its app format).  Children can help tell the story by guessing the rhymes at the end of each page.  Use dialogic reading to help kids follow the emotional arcs of the animal characters.

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  The Very Cranky Bear is a deceptively simple story that can be used as a discussion starter about friendship, empathy, kindness and sharing.


th-4More Read-alikes:  I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin (illustrated by Nick Bland), The Wrong Book and The Very Itchy Bear by Nick Bland

Links:  Author’s Webpage at Scholastic, Scholastic, Amazon


th-5Other Reviews Links:  Goodreads, Kirkus, Barnes & Noble

Why I chose to review this book?  The Wrong Book made me a fan of Nick Bland’s writing and illustration.

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Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!