The Trouble with Ben

Overview

A bear tries to be just like the children around him, but the results are disastrous and hilarious until he realizes that he must be true to himself.

Ben's efforts to fit in with the other children bring him only trouble until he is able to accept himself for the bear that he really is.

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Overview

A bear tries to be just like the children around him, but the results are disastrous and hilarious until he realizes that he must be true to himself.

Ben's efforts to fit in with the other children bring him only trouble until he is able to accept himself for the bear that he really is.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ben, a burly, brown bear clad in kids' clothes, is not at all like the boys and girls at school. He bounds across the playground on all fours and balances fish on his nose. Ben's classmates think he's weird, and his teacher constantly scolds him and sends him to the principal's office. The bumbling bruin does his best to imitate the other youngsters, but ``when he tried to be like them, it didn't feel right.'' When Ben suddenly decides to shed his clothing and start acting like a bear (even though he still attends school), he is happy at last. Polisar's message that it's okay to be different has been communicated more gracefully and effectively in numerous other books. Also, children may well sense the flawed logic here--``be yourself'' is an admirable axiom, but a bear can never be a child. Though marred by a repetitive text and awkward writing (``He hated running in clothes and felt funny in them''), the volume is pepped up by Clark's droll cartoons. Ages 5-10. (May)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Ben is always in trouble for something or other because he is different. Unfortunately for him, everyone is so preoccupied with having him fit in, that none of them notice that he is not a child but a bear. Ben truly does try to fit in but with disastrous and hilarious results. Happily one of his teachers finally notices he is different and accepts him as he is. And Ben also finally realizes he must be true to himself, and that being different is OK. In this text, no mention is ever made that Ben is a bear; it is patently obvious from the illustrations however. It is also curious that while other characters in the book have dialog, Ben only makes sounds-no words. He does have thoughts though. This would be a good read aloud; the large illustrations are highly visible in this pleasant 'feel good about me' book.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- Ben just doesn't fit in with his class; that should come as no surprise, as he's a brown bear in a class of white children. Adults all implore him to behave like everyone else. Looking in the mirror, Ben realizes he is different and there is nothing wrong with that. Children will enjoy the caricatures of the bespectacled teacher, Freud-like counselor, and oddly shaped children; they are the strong point of this work. The obvious message, however, that it's okay to be oneself, is lost; it is never clearly expressed that it's not okay to misbehave in class or sleep through the school day. The moral is further confused by the lack of transition between Ben's failure to conform and his sudden coming to terms with his individuality. Mired in problems, this well-intended tale lacks a satisfying, realistic, or enjoyable ending. --Elizabeth Hanson, Chicago Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938663133
  • Publisher: Rainbow Morning Music Alternatives
  • Publication date: 5/1/1992
  • Series: Rainbow Morning Music Picture Books Series
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 34
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Louis Polisar is a children’s recording artist. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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