Books & Literature

Book Review: Bear Moves, by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyüz

If there’s one thing Bear knows, it’s how to move. And when the music starts up, Bear just can’t help grooving to the beat

A fun picture book with awesome dance moves.

Ben Bailey Smith, also known by the stage name Doc Brown, is an English rapper. He is also a comedian, actor, screenwriter, radio presenter and voiceover artist. This is his second foray into the world of children’s picture books (the first was I am Bear) collaborating with Sav Akyüz who provides the illustrations.

Picture books rarely have a totally new idea and many themes can be found in previously published books. It is not often we get to read something different. Bear Moves is very refreshing.

The bright coloured, bold illustrations brilliantly depict the text. The reader is drawn to the character of Bear, who exudes cuteness along with his friends Bunny and Fox. The front cover is immediately appealing with its shiny title and an unmistakable purple dancing bear on the front.

Once we open the book, we find a frontispiece which shows Bear doing some cool dance moves. The title page has an old-fashioned record which immediately took me back to my childhood. The illustrations throughout the book are fun and appealing to both adults and children.

The story is about a bear who loves to dance. Not just one dance style, but all forms of dancing, from breakdancing to the foxtrot and tango. The most appealing thing about this book is that it would be difficult to just sit and read the story with a child. The illustrations bring the dance moves to life, willing us to join in.  Even as adults we would have to get up and try each dance move ourselves. Bear helps us with our technique. I found myself twisting and smiling to myself as I read.

The story is written in rhyme and as Bear does his best to try the dance moves, we can try our best as well.

This book would be enjoyable to read to toddlers and early years students at school, but the beauty of the book lies in its ability to make the reader want to join in. I can imagine a class of five or six-year-old children dancing along with Bear and his friends.

A great book for the family to enjoy together. Good luck reading it without at least one little bottom wiggle!

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: February 2019
RRP: $24.99

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