Friday, July 5, 2019

Review - Three Bears in a Boat

Three Bears in a Boat
by David Soman
Date: 2014
Publisher: Dial Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: hardcover
Source: library

From the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a high seas adventure inspired by the classic picture books Little Bear and Where the Wild Things Are.

Three bear siblings break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one. On their quest they encounter salty sailors, strange new islands, huge whales, and vast seas but no blue seashells. When a treacherous storm suddenly blows in, the three bears find themselves tossed about in their little boat, far from Mama. What will become of their search, and what will it take to bring them safely home?

This read aloud shares its best qualities with classic picture books: breath-taking illustrations, epic adventure, and a subtle message about taking responsibility for your actions.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Three bears in a boat? Sounds silly, right? It kind of is. But this charming little picture book is more than that. It's a story about siblings, about trying to right a wrong, and about having an adventure.

Dash, Charlie, and Theo are trying to reach the honey pot on the mantel when they accidentally break their mother's pretty blue seashell. Not wanting her to find out, they decide to go in search of a replacement. They take their boat, the Ursula K., and head out to sea. They ask a motley collection of other bears (including some that look like they stepped out of a particular piece of classic literature) if they know where to find a suitable seashell. The bears are eventually directed to a peculiar island. Along the way, the trio encounters a storm, searches under the sea, and bickers a little (as siblings do). But at last they come to the end of their search, and must take responsibility for their actions.

The illustrations here are absolutely adorable. I'm somewhat familiar with Soman's work, having read a number of books in the Ladybug Girl series. The style is similar, but I much prefer the pictures here. The use of colour (especially in the watery scenes) is beautiful. The bears themselves have so much personality; almost from the first page, we can tell what kinds of characters they are.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. There's definitely room for more stories about these three mischievous little bears, if Soman ever decides to write them. I, for one, would like to see what other sorts of adventures Dash, Charlie, and Theo might have.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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