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This book is part of a series featuring two beautifully illustrated characters, Bear and Hare. They are supposedly friends but here, their friendship is put to the test.
The two go for a walk, with Hare bouncing ahead and Bear bumbling along after him. Every time they come across an object of interest, Hare wants it for himself. Each time Bear says, ‘Share?’, but Hare always replies, ‘Mine!’
At first, Bear appears not to mind as Hare gobbles up a flower and an ice-cream. Things come to a head when they find a balloon. Hare does not want to share, and with both of them pulling at the balloon, it bursts. When Hare carries on with the walk, Bear is no longer with him. Hare does not seem to mind as he helps himself to some honey from a beehive. The bees, on the other hand, do mind. They chase Hare and sting him. The story ends with Bear giving first-aid treatment to his grateful friend, who then offers to share the honey.
A GOOD CHOICE
This book has been written for nought to three-year-olds, but older children will enjoy it too. Four-year-olds will enjoy remembering the text and looking at this book independently, while Reception-aged children will have their confidence boosted by being able to pick out many words in the text.
SHARING THIS BOOK
This book is relatively short, but there is plenty to look at and talk about. Start off by reading it through. With older children you can ask questions as you go, but with babies and toddlers, you may need to just run with the story.
Second time around, draw toddlers’ attention to some of the details in the illustrations. They may, for example, like to look at the way that Hare’s ears wrap around the ice-cream cone or how the balloon explodes into eight pieces.
You may also find that toddlers and older children are soon able to say ‘Share?’ or ‘Mine!’ if you leave a pause when reading aloud. With older children, you could draw their attention to the book cover. This shows Bear and Hare tugging at the jar of honey, so maybe Hare has still not learnt to share!
Personal, social and emotional development
This is a lovely book for exploring emotions, sharing and friendship. The illustrations pick out the animals’ feelings beautifully. With children from around two years, you can draw their attention to emotions including sadness, disappointment, shock and fear.
You can also explore whether children recognise what Hare is feeling on the final page. Older children may be able to connect the emotions to situations in their own lives. Talk too about why Bear is such a good friend and why sharing is important in friendship.
The simplicity, but also the repetition, in this book means that babies and toddlers can recognise some of the words quickly. We can also use this book to pick out and name some of Bear and Hare’s features, such as their eyes and noses as well as Hare’s ears.
Babies and toddlers also like sound effects when sharing books. So, you could say ‘pop’ on the page where the balloon bursts or ‘buzz’ with the bees. With children from three years, you can also draw their attention to more specific words such as ‘petals’ on the flower, or the ‘swarm’ of bees that chase Hare.
This story will help introduce babies and toddlers to the pleasure that books can bring. The board book version is robust and can be wiped clean and so will endure plenty of handling.
For three- and four-year-olds, this book can be used to help them hear rhymes, as many of the key words within the text rhyme, including ‘share’, ‘bear’ and ‘hare’.
With some older children, this book could be a good starting point for early writing. Perhaps children could write a letter to Bear and Hare outlining a few simple rules.
The story ends with an image of a first-aid kit. These are always of interest to children from around two years old. You may like to initiate a ‘first-aid station’ where children can try out bandages and pretend to help each other.
Finally, if this book proves a success, look out for others in this series, including Where’s Bear?, which is about the two friends attempting to play hide and seek.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Over the course of this monthly series on sharing books with children, Penny Tassoni will look at a range of fiction and non-fiction titles, from rhyming books for babies to picture books that adults and children can explore together.