Old Bear

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Old Bear By Jane HisseyOld Bear is a lovely story book with excellent illustrations by Jane Hissey and I would say that it is suitable for children from about three years upwards as there is a slightly more complicated storyline to follow than some of the earlier picture books.

The story starts with the central character Bramwall Brown, who is a stuffed toy dog, sitting on the windowsill with his friends Duck, rabbit and Little Bear. They are all friends but they suddenly remember that there is another friend who they haven’t seen for a while.

That friend is Old Bear, and because he is old and somewhat fragile, he was put away in the attic to keep him safe from the rough children. However, the four friends decide that enough is enough and it is time for Old Bear to be back where he belongs – and besides, the children are older now and much less rough. So they set off on a mission to rescue their old friend!

However, as Old Bear is up in the attic they have one big problem – how do they get up there to rescue him? They have to come up with a plan, which is to build a tower out of bricks in order to reach the trapdoor. The plan seems to be working, but all of a sudden, the tower starts to wobble, and Baby Bear, who is at the top, comes tumbling down!

Time for another plan! Then another! And another! The toys come up with a number of ingenious ideas to help them reach the trapdoor – making themselves into a tower, bouncing on the bed, climbing the plant in the corner of the room to name but a few – but none of these work! Duck in particular gets quite upset as he thinks of Old Bear up in the attic, lonely and cold! Bramwell says that they must never give up though!

Eventually they hit on a plan that does work and Little Bear flies a toy aeroplane, passes the trapdoor and pushes it open. He flies round again and is able to haul himself into the attic. It is very dark and quiet up there so he calls out to Old Bear who is propped up by a cardboard box and is very pleased to see him, They make their escape by using a couple of hankies as parachutes to float down to the room below! All the toys are extremely happy, especially Old Bear, as they cuddle up together for a group hug!

This story has a lovely old fashioned feel to it which I really like. The toys are all the traditional type of stuffed toy and they are exquisitely drawn. There is a certain quality with these toys that you just don’t seem to get these days. There is so much detail in all the pictures, especially one of Old Bear in the attic surrounded by all the old musty things you would expect to see up there!

The story is all about friendship and what friends will do for each other so it is very much about caring. As my daughter is just starting preschool and making new friends it is a good one to share with her and to talk about her new friendships.

There is also a strong message about not giving up even when things are difficult and may even seem impossible. I know sometimes that my daughter is quick to give up on things that she doesn’t like doing, so we can talk about how clever the toys are not to do this!

As I said it is a longer story then some picture books so will probably take between about ten and fifteen minutes to read with a child so they will need to be able to concentrate and follow all the different ideas in the story.

Overall I would say that this is a very enjoyable read and gives plenty to talk about with your child. It is definitely one of those books that you want to keep and treasure – just like Old Bear!

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Old Bear
by Jane Hissey

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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