The Very Cranky Bear


Four animal friends cheer up a very cranky bear.

Nick Bland's expressive, adorable illustrations complement delightful, rhyming, read-aloud text in this lesson about the importance of sharing with others.

Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep take shelter in a cave on a cold and rainy day, only to realize that a bear is there. The bear roars loudly and says that he is trying to sleep. Not understanding why the bear is so cranky, the other animals come...

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Four animal friends cheer up a very cranky bear.

Nick Bland's expressive, adorable illustrations complement delightful, rhyming, read-aloud text in this lesson about the importance of sharing with others.

Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep take shelter in a cave on a cold and rainy day, only to realize that a bear is there. The bear roars loudly and says that he is trying to sleep. Not understanding why the bear is so cranky, the other animals come up with ways to cheer up the bear. Moose finds antlers for him, Lion gives him a mane, and Zebra paints on stripes. Is there anything the four well-meaning friends can do to help the bear sleep?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Using a singsong rhyme scheme and a comically bumbling animal cast, Bland (The Runaway Hug) playfully introduces the concepts of consideration and respect in a story first published in Australia in 2008. Four four-footed pals think they have found the perfect place to play “in the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a cold and rainy day” when they wander into a dry cave. But just when their card game gets going, the crew is confronted by the cave’s original inhabitant—a very cranky bear who’s been roused from his sleep by their arrival. Undeterred, Zebra, Moose, and Lion devise a scheme (“ ‘Wait a minute,’ said Zebra,/ as she scratched her furry chin./ ‘Maybe if we cheered him up,/ he’d let us come back in’ ”), which only makes things worse. In the end, it’s “plain” and quiet Sheep who comes up with a selfless gesture that soothes Bear and wins the day. Bland’s cartoonishly anthropomorphic critters (the female characters sport eyelashes and rosy cheeks) form a goofy, amiable group well-suited to the silly proceedings. Ages 3–5. (July)
From the Publisher

I LOST MY KISSES (by Trudie Trewin and illustrated by Nick Bland)
"The delightful gouache and graphite-pencil illustrations, set against wide, white backgrounds, have both humor and heft." --BOOKLIST

"Bland's mainly pencil illustrations are livened up with splashes of subtle watercolors. The abundant white space and style of drawing are reminiscent of Ian Falconer's OLIVIA and just as endearing. The attention to detail and facial expressions are exceptional." --CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
During a cold rainstorm, four animals seek shelter in a cave, but they are unaware of Bear who is sleeping in the cave. These four friends, Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep, begin a game of cards but their game quickly ends as cranky Bear awakens and chases them out of the cave and into the rain. The four friends still need a dry place to play. Zebra believes that if they can cheer up Bear then he will let them stay and play in the cave. Based on their unique perspectives, Moose, Lion, and Zebra each devise a way to change Bear’s mood. For example, Moose thinks that Bear needs a pair of antlers and Zebra feels that stripes will make a difference in Bear’s mood. Unfortunately, the various plans do not change Bear’s temperament. Sheep comes up with a different idea based on what Bear really wants, a quiet place to sleep. The illustrations fill the pages with the sweet expression of the animals, the grumpiness of Bear, and the comical results of Moose, Lion, and Zebra’s plans. Children may enjoy the humorous results of the different characters’ plans to help a cranky, sleepy bear. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung; Ages 3 to 6.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—In the Jingle Jangle Jungle, a quartet of comical animals take refuge from a storm in a cave—only to find the titular bear none too happy to be awakened from his sleep. Determined to cheer him up, Moose, Lion, and Zebra adorn the bear with antlers made from branches, a mane made from grass, and stripes painted on with mud—surely he will feel better if he looks like them, right? Only Sheep thinks beyond her own perspective; she shears off some of her wool to make a soft pillow, and the bear finally goes back to sleep. The silly rhyming text bounces along with an infectious rhythm that is perfect for storytime, and kids will enjoy the colorful, cartoonish illustrations and exaggerated features of the animals. (Expect giggles when they see the striped, maned, antlered bear.) This deceptively simple story is also a great jumping-off point for discussions about kindness and empathy.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
How do you deal with a very cranky bear?"In the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a cold and rainy day, / four little friends found a perfect place to play." Moose, Lion, Zebra and Sheep hunker down out of the cold rain to play a hand or two of cards…but they aren't alone in the dim cave. There's a big cranky bear who promptly roars at them and chases them away. Back out in the rain, the friends speculate as to why Bear is so cranky. Zebra thinks he needs stripes. Moose thinks he needs antlers. Lion's sure he needs a mane. Sheep isn't sure. "So Zebra fetched a can of mud, and Lion, some grass of gold. / Moose got two big branches, and Sheep…well, Sheep got cold." The three friends are in the cave long enough to make Sheep think they've been eaten, but they've just given Bear a makeover he's none too happy about. Bear roars about only wanting a quiet place to sleep…and Sheep has just the stuff—er, fluff: She makes him a pillow from some of her wool. Bland's silly jungle tale, published in his native Australia in 2008, will have young listeners giggling, particularly once Bear's all dolled up. Older listeners might wonder why the other animals are so pudgy and cute compared to Bear (especially Lion).Good, not-so-cranky fun. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545612692
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/29/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 94,262
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Bland always wanted to be a writer and a cartoonist, but it wasn't until he started working in a bookstore and rediscovered children's literature that he found a way to channel this ambition. He is the author of THE RUNAWAY HUG and the illustrator of I LOST MY KISSES. Nick lives in the jungle near Darwin, Australia.
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