Can Bears Ski?

Publisher: Walker Books

A little bear wakes up in the morning, gets dressed and has his breakfast, and then Dad walks him to school. All morning, he keeps thinking that people are asking him “Can bears ski?” – it’s confusing. Why would they keep asking that?

When he gets to school, Little Bear doesn’t quite follow what his friend has said at lunch that everyone else finds so funny, and he’s not sure what Teacher Bear asks him either.

After school, Dad picks the Little Bear up and they go and see an audiologist who does some tests, and fits Little Bear with some hearing aids. Suddenly the world is very loud indeed! Perhaps people haven’t been asking him “Can bears ski?” after all – perhaps it was “Can you hear me?” And when Dad reads a bedtime story, Little Bear can finally appreciate what he was missing before.

Raymond Antrobus is a deaf poet, and this book is based on a poem he wrote about his earliest remembrance of being read to. The detail of how Little Bear can feel the vibration of Dad’s feet on the floor rather than hear his voice in the morning, and how he can feel the crunch of the snow under his feet when he walks to school, as well as the experience of visiting an audiologist, bring an authenticity to the depiction of being deaf or hard of hearing in childhood alongside a lovely story told in a relatable child voice.

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