What You Need to Know:|
• This fractured fairy tale will entertain readers and inspire plenty of giggles.
• The story is told by a young girl who is adamantly trying to keep bears out of the book she is creating.
• It is important to follow the illustrations, as well as the text, as the pictures tell their own version of the story.
• Check out Meg McKinlay's website for some great ideas on how to use this book in the classroom. Her FAQ page is
also particularly funny.
Ella introduces herself to readers and explains things in no uncertain terms. This is her book. How do you know? Well, she explains, it has words, of course. Words like "Once upon a time" and "Happily ever after" and even, "The End." And in case you still aren't sure who the boss is, Ella says "I'm in charge of this book, so I know everything about it..." The key thing that Ella knows is that there are absolutely, positively, without a doubt, no bears in her book. At least that's what SHE thinks! Readers will find that the illustrations tell quite a different story from the one that Ella is writing. Although the phrase "NO BEARS" appears often in the text, a sneaky bear often peeks out from behind the scenes. Ella may be sick of bears, but this guy is sticking around, and he just may come in handy when Ella's princess finds herself in distress.
There is a lot to look at on every page of No Bears. The text changes size for emphasis, and at times, the words seem to fly by on the pages. In addition to the sneaky bear, there are other fun representatives from fairy tale life, including a gingerbread man, a Rapunzel figure and three little pigs, all hidden among the pages. Ella engages the reader by addressing them directly with questions like "This turned out to be a pretty good book, don't you think?" and statements like "Ooh. This is getting scary." The combination of humor and wit make this one a winner!
2012, 32 pages
Animals, Excellent Read Aloud, Fairy Tales, Humor
• Ella makes a list of things you need in a book. Do you agree with her list? What would you add or take away?
• What other fairy tales are referred to in the illustrations?
• What is your favorite book about a bear?
• What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
• Who really saved the princess?
• If you were in trouble, who would come to your rescue?
• Why is the princess usually rescued by a prince? Can the princess ever save herself?
• Do you think the bear in this story is a good guy or a bad guy? Does he remind you of anyone?
• Do you think there are too many books with bears in them? What other animals are often characters in books?
• Which are your favorite storybook animals?
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