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There, There
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There, There

by Sam McBratney, Ivan Bates (Illustrator)

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From Guess How Much I Love You author Sam McBratney comes this tender story of the special kind of soothing comfort that a hug can bring, setting everything just right again.

"There, there" — one of the most soothing expressions in the English language. In this story, Little Hansie Bear loves to pretend, but walking like a duck can be


From Guess How Much I Love You author Sam McBratney comes this tender story of the special kind of soothing comfort that a hug can bring, setting everything just right again.

"There, there" — one of the most soothing expressions in the English language. In this story, Little Hansie Bear loves to pretend, but walking like a duck can be hazardous, especially when he falls into a deep- down ditch and has to be helped out by his dad. With a "There, there" and a hug, Hansie is soon off to play again. So when Dad hurts his foot, Hansie knows just what to do — a "There, there," a big hug, and everything is all right again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What is it about the repetition of “There, there” that makes a person feel instantly understood and comforted? While McBratney and Bates don’t venture into lexical semantics (thank goodness), they are eloquent on the phrase’s power as a manifestation of empathy. When their hero, Hansie Bear, suffers the minor slings and arrows of childhood (a stumble, a hurt knee, a head bump, sand in his eyes), his father gives him an enveloping cuddle, says “There, there,” and the cub feels “right again.” There are no big surprises in this simply told book, but it’s a deeply resonant story. Bates, who previously collaborated with McBratney on Just You and Me and other titles, offers softly radiant sketches that capture the reassuring warmth of the father’s furry embrace, while McBratney contributes some exceedingly lovely dialogue. “I was trying to walk like a duck!” the injured Hansie explains. “Well, that’s not easy,” says his father sagely, “unless you are a duck.” It’s not surprising that when Dad needs a little “There, there,” himself, Hansie is ready to step up: after all, he’s learned from a master. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Hansie Bear loves to play, run and jump with his friends but when he runs into trouble, as little bears often do, his dad is always there to comfort him with a "There, there, it will be alright. You'll see." Little Hansie wants to walk like a duck but when you are walking like a duck, you might not see the deep ditch in front of you until you fall in. Then when you cannot climb back out, it is comforting to know that Dad is nearby. Hansie's next adventure takes him to the sandpit but on a windy day, digging in sand can make your eyes hurt. Lucky for Hansie, Dad knows that if you blink a few times, your eyes will stop stinging and you will be okay. Later in the day, when Dad returns home with a thorn in his foot, Hansie knows just what to do to make it better. He jumps quickly to give dad a great big hug and a pat on the back, saying "There, there, it will be alright. You'll see." This is a delightful story for young readers from the author of Guess How Much I Love You. Author McBratney speaks from the heart of a child to deliver this message of love and commitment. The illustrations of Bates are simply outstanding, with brushstrokes so clearly portraying Hanzie's fuzzy fur that it seems you could reach out and stroke it. This will be another classic for another McBratney and will be a loved book by parents and children alike. It is well worth budget dollars for every collection. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Hansie Bear is a bit clumsy. Although he has lots of ideas and imagination when it comes to pretending, he always gets bumped or scraped in some way. It would be fun to walk like a duck, he thinks, until he falls sideways into a ditch and hurts his knee. Digging his deepest hole ever just gets sand in his eyes, and he also falls off his swing and bumps his head. Luckily, Dad is there to rescue his cub. He puts a bandage on Hansie's knee, tells the little bear to "blinkety-blink" to clear his eyes, hugs him, and offers a timely "there, there…you'll be fine" after each mishap. With such comforting, Hansie is up and ready to play again. But later that afternoon, he sees his father coming home walking very slowly. Dad hurt his foot when he stepped on a thorn. Mom pulls it out, but Hansie knows just what to do to make his dad feel better: "There, there," he says with a hug, "we'll be all right now." The soft illustrations are done in mixed media; Bates has captured the warmth of a father's love for his son in the older bear's expressions, and Hansie is an adorable young bear, full of curiosity and energy. A fine portrayal of parental love and caring.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Fans of McBratney's best-known work, Guess How Much I Love You (illustrated by Anita Jeram, 1994), will recognize (and embrace) the cozy tone of this charming story about how to cope with mishaps. They're also likely to welcome little Hansie and his parents, a cuddly, anthropomorphized bear family, with open arms. Hansie behaves like a typical preschooler, busy mimicking the world around him, digging in the dirt and playing with his friends. Each scenario, however, leads to a minor injury or moment of discomfort. Hansie bangs his knee, gets sand in his eyes and knocks his head against a low-hanging branch. In each case, his father is close by, ready to apply a bandage, advise him to "blinkety blink" to clear his vision or give his head a rub. Each simple remedy is capped with a big hug and a comforting "There, there." When his father comes home later in need of care, Hansie is happy to return the favor. McBratney's plot doesn't break any new ground, but he endows his ursine characters with distinct voices and effectively captures a young child's endearingly imaginative play. Bates' mixed-media illustrations, meanwhile, add even more sweetness and an old-fashioned feel, with rounded shapes, soft outlines, subdued colors and engaging details (don't miss the ducks playing in the sand). A pleasing portrait of a nurturing father-son relationship, McBratney's latest should find a warm welcome. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
A deeply resonant story.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.46(w) x 10.82(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Sam McBratney has been writing books for children for more than forty years. In addition to Guess How Much I Love You, which has sold more than 28 million copies worldwide, his books include the best-selling You’re All My Favorites. He lives in Northern Ireland.

Ivan Bates studied illustration at Manchester Polytechnic and has illustrated many books for children, including Just You and Me by Sam McBratney, Do Like A Duck Does! by Judy Hindley, and Five Little Ducks. He lives in England.

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