The Other Bears by Michael Thompson

The Other Bears by Michael Thompson (Star Bright Books, October 2013) is a simple tale of prejudice being overcome by friendship, except this is a somewhat silly picture book about bears!

The koala bear family (who technically are not bears at all but marsupials) are busy enjoying their day at the beach when other families arrive.

First comes the panda bear family, with Chinese dress and food. Then there is the polar bear family (with snow shoes and coats) and the black bear family (with American parade regalia). Finally, the brown bear family (with German/European outfits) and the sun bear family (with Southeast Asian clothes) join the crowd on the beach.

The koala bear parents complain about each family, but the kid koalas love playing games, hearing stories, and otherwise playing with the other bears, quickly becoming friends. As the koala parents watch the kids playing, they realize how wrong it is the dislike the other bears. They accept the new bear friends and all get along happily.

The illustrations in The Other Bears are friendly pencil drawings, and I love how the front and back cover pages tell some facts about the bears featured in this book. It was clever to see how the author/illustrator managed to weave personality into each the bear types.

However, I’m a bit wary of the stereotyping done throughout this book. Does it really teach kids about other parts of the world by stereotyping a bear from China or a bear from America? Although I honestly feel this book is fun and there is no harm done in it, I still am slightly uncomfortable by mother and father koala’s comments about what they don’t like about the bears. I hope the “accept others” message comes across strongly for children, for I feel it may have been a little weak.

Note: I received a digital review copy.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}