Friday, September 18, 2015

Book (Rave) Review! "The Bear's Song" by Benjamin Chaud

Book recommendation!! Book recommendation!! We have discovered the MOST adorable book and I'm so excited to share it with all of you. At the library a few weeks ago, I randomly grabbed this gem -- "The Bear's Song" by Benjamin Chaud -- because I thought the cover art was adorable, and we were sort of doing a bear theme in our book choices that day.

We sat down to read it and two other new library books that evening at bedtime. Book 1: cute, fine, whatever. Book 2: Kind of boring. Book 3, "The Bear's Song": Totally engaging, ridiculously cute, smiles and laughs from Toddler X and Mama, an immediate "Read it again!", an invitation to Mr. X to join us, and a re-read with even more delightful discoveries (thanks to Mr. X's keen eye). I knew immediately that this was a book that we'd add to our permanent library. We've read it at least 10 times in the past two weeks, and since it's due today, I got online this morning to order our own copy. Turns out that other readers agree with me (the book has 4.7 out of 5 stars), and that the author published another book in the series last year, and a third just a few days ago! Into the cart, one, two, three! I can't wait for them to get here in a few days -- I seriously haven't anticipated the arrival of a new book so much in years (since the time when I actually read for myself).

So, what's so special? "The Bear's Song" is a sweet story of a daddy bear settling in for his winter hibernation, only to discover that his little cub has run off in search of honey. As he heads out to find his cub, he runs through the forest, through the city, through an opera house, and through an opera itself, getting glimpses of the cub and the honey bee he's following. I won't spoil the end for you, but suffice it to say that it's a sweet one (in more ways than one -- honey *is* involved).

While the story is cute, the really wonderful thing about this book is the brilliant illustrating. The pictures are INCREDIBLE -- amazingly detailed, with hidden hilariousness buried in the busyness of each page. You seriously discover, and laugh at, something new with each read. I didn't even realize that the back cover was sort of the finale of the story until our fourth or fifth visit with the book. On each page, you join the daddy bear in his search for the cub (and the honey bee) in a "Where's Waldo?"-esque (but far, far cuter and more artistic) image. The cub and bee CAN be seen on each page (we didn't find them all in our first read-through), and there are tons of other cute touches too. It's seriously a joy to read, for kids and parents alike.

I'd recommend this book more for older toddlers (say, 3 and up), preschoolers and kindergarteners -- the pictures might be too dense for younger toddlers to get much out of, though they'd still be pleasurable, and the story would still be sweet. Since it's kind of under the radar (or at least I'd never heard of it -- it's a French author and was published there first, so maybe it was never really marketed in the US) and probably not going to be in everyone's library already, this is going to be a big gift book for us in the months to come (if you're planning on inviting Toddler X to your birthday party, hold off on buying this book -- haha!).

I'll post more about the other two in the series when they arrive -- I am so excited to check them out. I'll probably hold off on giving them to Toddler X until Christmas, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy them in the meantime. :)

Anyhow, check out "The Bear's Song" (via the affiliate link, if you don't mind), and the subsequent books, "The Bear's Sea Escape" and "The Bear's Surprise" (which was just released three days ago and doesn't have any reviews yet -- I'll get one to you as soon as I get it). As a lifelong book-lover who's always searching for something new and special for Toddler X's library, I'm overjoyed with this find.

Happy reading!


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