The Bear

Publisher: Penguin

Review

Young Tilly is delighted when a polar bear clambers through her bedroom window one night and snuggles up next to her in bed. He's got huge claws and sharp yellow teeth, but his furry coat is warm and soft, and Tilly decides he's far cuddlier than her little teddy.

But then the bear begins to cause trouble, knocking over furniture and emptying the honey jar in one enormous slurp. He even falls asleep during a 'serious talk'. Are mischievous polar bears really ideal domestic pets?

This oversized picture book makes the most of Briggs's soft, pastel-coloured pencil drawings. In a combination of full-page spreads and cinematic smaller panel sequences, Bear is large but never frightening.

The delicate emotional thread between the two friends is just as touching as that between a young child and an enigmatic central character that enlivens The Snowman. The Bear is a warm story replete with classic Raymond Briggs themes: kindness, caring, and letting go.

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