Booklist: Children's books about bears

Swapna Haddow, whose new picture book with Dapo Adeola  - My Dad is a Grizzly Bear - is out this week, has picked her top five recommended books for children all about bears.

Swanpa says, 'I have always loved bears. I love cuddly ones, fluffy ones, sleepy ones, grumpy ones, funny ones and especially ones with marmalade sandwiches under their hats. So to celebrate the publication of My Dad is a Grizzly Bear, my debut picture book illustrated by the roarsome Dapo Adeola, I’ve chosen five of my favourite funny bear books to share with you...''

Where’s My Teddy?
Jez Alborough

This one is an oldie but a goodie. It was one of my favourites when I was younger and is now a firm favourite of my sons. This fast-paced, hilarious, rhyming text follows Eddie who is looking for his teddy in the woods. He’s in for a HUGE surprise when he eventually finds it but I won’t say much more than that as I don’t want to ruin the story for those who haven’t read the book yet. This book is a timeless classic, gorgeously illustrated throughout.

I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen 

I’m sure this book crops up on every list of favourite bear books, favourite hat books, favourite massive twist books, favourite squashed rabbit books, favourite picture books – basically all the favourites – and with good reason. Jon Klassen is the master at taking picture book noir and making it palatable and this book is no exception. It’s a mischievous and brilliant story about a bear trying to find his hat and told completely in dialogue so get ready with the voices if you are reading this one aloud.

Goodnight Already!
Jory John & Benji Davies

Bear is utterly exhausted and is looking to get a good night’s sleep but his neighbour Duck has other ideas. This hilarious story, illustrated by Benji Davies who is the master of drawing an increasingly knackered bear, has me giggling every time I’ve returned to it. As it turns out, it also happens to be a true to life reimagining of my son’s toddler years where I am played by Bear and he is played by Duck.

Pom Pom Panda Gets The Grumps
Sophy Henn

I’m a huge fan of Sophy Henn’s bold illustrative work and this stunning book is one of my favourites. Pom Pom wakes up in a terrible mood and nothing seems to go right from that point on. I love a grumpy character so Pom Pom stole my heart from the moment he woke up. The entire story is a delight. It’s also an absolutely brilliant book for talking about emotions with young readers.

A Bear Called Paddington
Michael Bond & Peggy Fortnum

Of course no list would be complete without a mention of a certain marmalade-sandwich loving bear called Paddington. The Paddington books are an utter joy to read. They are full of charm, kindness and imminent disaster – the perfect story-telling mix. The Paddington stories were the tales that had me looking for lost bears at train stations, dreaming of adventures in Darkest Peru and making tiny jackets and hats for my teddy bears as a child and they will always hold a special place in my heart.

My Dad is a Grizzly Bear
Swapna Haddow & Dapo Adeola

Swapna's own book , My Dad is a Grizzly Bear, is a playful, warm and hilarious bear story with themes of family bonds. In this family, it's just possible that Dad is a grizzly bear - after all, he has fuzzy fur, enormous paws and loves the outdoors. He sleeps a lot even in the cinema and when he's awake, he's always hungry, usually eating up all the honey.  What else could Dad be? But sometimes, when it's scary at night, a lovely big bear hug is just what is needed.

 The sweet story about a boy’s wild imagination and the bond with his father, accompanied by colourful and heart-warming illustrations makes this the perfect gift for Father’s Day. Grab a copy for all the dads that have their fair share of ROARsome traits and are often mistaken for a grizzly bear! 

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