Title: Three Bears in a Boat
Written and illustrated By: David Soman
Published By: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014, Fiction
Themes/Topics: boating, bears, adventure
Suitable for ages: 3-7
Opening: Once there were three bears, Dash, Charlie and Theo, who lived by the sea.
Synopsis: Three bear siblings are up to some mischief when they smash their mama’s favorite blue shell. Instead of feting up they decide to set sail in their boat to try and find a replacement and avoid punishment. The cubs set off for a high seas adventure meeting some pretty peculiar sailors along the way, receiving intriguing advice and encountering big whales, weird islands and an epic storm. Their search takes them far and then back home with? Well you’ll have to read and find out.
Why I like This Book: I love the individuality of the three bears depicted through their words and the illustrations. Nearly all children will relate to avoiding a telling-off, trying to make repairs and a very subtle learning process for these delightful cubs. The end reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are and it definitely has some Sendak inspiration though with more sweetness woven into the relationships, search and beautiful misty sea illustrations. This picture book has an evergreen feel to it, and one I imagine will be requested many times. I saw David on a panel at Books of Wonder in New York in June and was inspired by his early childhood fascination with bears gleaned from his days at the Natural History Museum just two minutes walk from me!
The whale scene is gorgeous and this could be paired with If You want to see a Whale, The Storm Whale and Following Papa’s Song.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.