CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006
The underlying messages of acceptance of change and tolerance of differences are worthwhile. The book follows the typical pattern of a novella in that Forester analyses the single problem in small stages before coming to a firm realization that his world has been forever changed. It is unclear, however, who the intended audience is for this book. The anthropomorphic animal characters and the frequent use of short sentences seem to address young readers. The mature vocabulary, lack of dialogue and action in the early chapters, and lengthy philosophical musings with abstract concepts would more realistically appeal to adults. However, the text is repetitious and wordy, making it unwieldy in spots and peppered with cliches ("...can't see the forest for the trees...") in a style adult readers would likely find tedious to stick with long enough to hear the theme. More weak editing - in particular, mixed verb tenses and passive constructions - in the first few pages might deter a reader from continuing.
Although a bear is the protagonist in this illustrated work (about 16 photos are included), there is no visual of a bear. Instead, the book appears to be, in part, a vehicle for showcasing a few of the author's other nature photographs (some of which are displayed at his website). Unfortunately, the illustrations don't necessarily correspond to the text on adjacent pages: eg. a frog and pond plants face a page of Forester's rambling thoughts about a meeting; a fox is shown next to Forester's conversation with a chipmunk and raccoon. This glossy, hard cover book appears to promise more than it delivers for the hefty $19.95 price tag.
Gillian Richardson, who lives in BC, is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian living in BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.