Picture Books

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury | Book Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Cover art is copyright of Walker Books.*

This is the story of five children. Yes, the tall one is a child. He just has a serious case of dad-face.

These five children are going to hunt for a bear. Not a make-believe bear in a make-believe game. No, these children go in search of a real, live bear, armed with nothing but a stick. Presumably to poke the bear with.

They chant as they go, saying they’re “going to catch a big one” as if they are going to snare a large fish. They are also “not scared.” Apparently they have been emboldened by the “beautiful day” as though good weather were the ultimate shield against danger.

These kids are not cut out for bear hunting. They say “Oh no!” when they have to wade through some grass. Yet they trudge on, intent on seeking out and confronting a wild animal.

Who raised these obtuse children? Where are their parents? Are they at home making naïve baby number six? Their only companion is a dog, who is not much of a protector.

The book is written in a sing-song style and utilises onomatopoeia. It alternates between double-page spreads in watercolour and black ‘n’ white. This was very distracting and a strain on my poor wee eyes.

‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ is the tale of five dim-witted children. It is “retold by Michael Rosen.” Perhaps this means there is an original version where the children meet a grizzly end. (See what I did there?) I shouldn’t be at all surprised.

2 out of 5 stars
*That’s Candlewick Press if you’re in the US.

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