The Hide-and-Scare Bear by Ivan Bates

Published by Templar (ISBN: 978-1783701896)

Bear really doesn’t behave very well. He picks his nose, he gobbles his food- he has no manners. Worst of all, he likes to play a game he calls ‘Hide and Scare’. Bear thinks it is great fun, but as the other animals don’t, Rabbit decides someone needs to help Bear understand there’s a nicer way to play.

This is a delightful story. Told in rhyme, the message is very much one of understanding and support, rather than condemnation and anger. Bear, like so many children at times, doesn’t think about how his actions are affecting the others. When the other animals ‘gang up on’ him, Rabbit is the voice of reason, the one who tries to see the good in Bear and reach out to him rather than ‘getting tough’.

With its lovely illustrations, this is a story that is perfect for sharing. The words are chosen for quality and effect so the vocabulary is rich and challenging. The rhyming helps to make the story flow and there are plenty of places for children to join in. 

By discussing Bear’s behaviour and Rabbit’s solution to it, the story offers the perfect way of tackling these issues in a class (or at home between siblings) without identifying individuals. The book lends itself really well to drama opportunities which could lead into writing: in role, exploring the feelings of the different characters, persuasive writing, re-telling the story from a different viewpoint, writing advice… 

Any story that helps us try to understand others is a valuable addition to every classroom- and this one does it beautifully!