Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Book: No Bears by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge

No Bears by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge was released last year in Australia and this year in the US. In Australia, the book has been shortlisted for their CBCA Awards. (Think of it as their equivalent to the Caldecott Medal in the US.)

The book isn't a straight out fairy tale retelling, but it uses tropes and imagery from fairy tales to tell a story in which there are NO BEARS since the narrator is sick of them in her books. Of course, the bear is the silent, unacknowledged hero of the book, providing rescue and humor along the literal sidelines. The fairy godmother, for example, is too busy searching for her wand to help when needed.

Book description:

Ella is in charge of this book, and she will tell you something right now. There are NO BEARS in it. Not even one.

Ella wants to tell you a story — a story with absolutely no bears. You don’t need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles and maybe funny things and exciting things. In Ella’s kind of story, there are no bears in the village or the castle or the deep dark forest or faraway lands. But there might be . . . a monster! Riffing on well-known fairy-tale themes, this fun, offbeat story is perfectly matched by playful illustrations with a running visual joke that will keep even bear lovers smiling.

There is also a word find page on the Australian publisher's site. You can download the PDF here. But it gives you an idea of what fairy tales to expect in the book. Or it's just fun for a child or adult who enjoys word finds! There's also some classroom ideas for the book for teachers--or parents--looking for ways to expand the book's usage.

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