Top positive review
Fun story with simple illustrations guide the reader towards increased empathy
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2019
Since I assume you are considering acquiring this book for your child not yourself, my review will contain spoilers.
Two friends, Big Brown Bear and Small Purple Bear, approach a trunk. They find hats and start to play. Blue Bunny approaches and asks “Can I play with you?” Big Brown Bear enthusiastically says yes, while Small Purple Bear is hesitant. It turns out his reluctance is justified; the other two immediately start playing in a way that excludes him! Small Purple Bear fumes and then finds a way to exact revenge, temporarily driving away Blue Bunny. But Blue Bunny is soon back. Big Brown Bear suggests a game they can all play, but Small Purple Bear is too miffed to join in the fun. Then he has an idea! He suggests they build a car, an activity which excludes Big Brown Bear, who is none too pleased with this turn of events. Big Brown Bear has a huge outburst. He yells. He cries. Then everyone makes up and they all decide to play spies. On the last page, a new character pops up asking, “Can I play too?"
Children will recognize this situation as one they’ve found themselves in. If you think back on it, you’ll remember it from your own childhood. This is exactly how children play. Everybody’s having fun. Somebody gets bent out of shape for some reason. Everything falls apart. Everybody gets over it and starts playing again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
This book will demonstrate to young readers how this cycle operates. More importantly, it opens the door to a larger conversation. “How is Big Brown Bear feeling in this picture?” “What do you think Blue Bunny might have done differently to make sure everyone feels included?” “Do you think Small Purple Bear should have done that?” By teaching kids to be more aware of each other’s feelings, they can break the cycle. Empathy and conflict resolution are skills kids need to develop. This book should help.
I had never read a children’s book on Kindle before. I read it on my iPhone. Here are some observations:
- There was a nifty little “lock” you could tap to lock in the page orientation.
- Looking at both pages on the screen can get a little confusing in a way it simply doesn’t when you’re holding the book in your hand.
- Easy to read.
- Fun simple illustrations which tell much of the story.
- Helps child to process emotions and gain an understanding of empathy and conflict resolution.
- I realized as I was writing this review that I was assuming all of the characters were male. Although genders are not specified, a second reading told me that my assumption was justified. On the final page, what looks to be a pink poodle giraffe pops up.
- It should be “Can I play, too?” There’s a comma missing. Nitpicking, I know.
- At “loc 20 of 22”, the way the line goes from the spoken words to the speaker makes it unclear who the speaker is. I can get that from context, but I’m not sure a child will.
Note that this is one in a series. Other books are:
- I Am (Not) Scared
- You Are (Not) Small
- That’s (Not) Mine