Thursday, February 4, 2016

I am a Bear by Jean-Francois Dumont- OPTIONAL

Dumont, Jean-Francois. I am a Bear, PICTURE BOOK. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015. $16.00. This is the story of a bear who lives on the street. He’s not sure how he got there, but he tries to be friendly and get food, but people don’t want to be around him. This makes him sad and he grows despondent until a day when a little girl says hello. He tries hard to make a good impression and they become friends. I really feel like the underlying purpose of this book is very valuable: it’s very important not to ignore those who are homeless or judge someone because they are homeless. That being said, I think that if a book about this topic is written, it really should be more straightforward, without the lead character as a large, cuddly bear. It blurs the lines too much and makes it more unrealistic so that the message might be harder to get across. I also think that there is a safety issue that isn’t presented well in the book, not because the little girl approaches and interacts with a homeless bear, but because she approaches and interacts with a stranger, without a trusted adult present. That sends up red flags for me. I rated this for a little higher age level because the content would need a lot of explanation that I’m not sure younger students are ready for. EL- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, High School Librarian.

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