CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 41. . . .June 20, 2014
One of the best Canadian picture books of 2012 was A Bear in War. The team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat, and Brian Deines have collaborated again to bring readers another adventure of the teddy bear that now resides in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Whereas A Bear in War involved events of the First World War, Bear on the Homefront involves events of the Second World War. Whereas the first book involved events at the front line, as the title of the sequel suggests, it involves events on the homefront. Those who enjoyed the first book will find the quality of the sequel equally impressive and the story equally engaging.
Given the heavy bombings of England during the Second World War, many English children were shipped to other Allied countries for their safe-keeping. In this book, Grace and William Chambers travel to Canada and then board a train to cross from the Maritimes to their new home in Winnipeg. They meet the nurse, Aileen Rogers. Sensing the children’s loneliness, she kindly gives them the teddy bear that her father carried with him in France during the First World War. Given her sentimental attachment to the teddy bear, it was a magnanimous gift from the real-life Aileen. Innes and Endrulat again provide a compelling, informative, and evocative text. Innes is the great-niece of Aileen Rogers, and so the story obviously has personal significance for her, but she and Endrulat do a good job of making the story of value to all.
Dr. Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba where he specialises in literature for children.
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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.