Book Review: That Bear Can’t Babysit, by Ruth Quayle

A picture book for 3-6 year olds about a group of rabbit children who try to get away with all the things they’re not allowed to do when a bear babysits them.

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A delightful story book, appealing and re readable at bedtimes for the 3 – 6 year old range of littlies. Ruth Quayle has used the thinking of small children and the wisdom of an older head to produce an entertaining book about a large group of rabbit children, trying to pull the wool over their first time baby sitter, the bear.

She has used the title of the book as a repeated refrain that encourages the audience to chime in and become more engaged with the subtle naughtiness of the kits as they attempt to do everything they would not be allowed to do should their parents be at home.

The beautiful illustrations by Alison Friend add to the drowsy tones of this story, causing giggles as they show the implied details of the surrounding text. Quayle has given the younger audience hints as to what is not a good choice by having the kits wink at each other whenever they are telling fibs and follows this up by telling the consequences of their behaviours.

After telling scary stories, making themselves sick with sweets for dinner, and soaking themselves playing with the garden hose, bear gets a handle on the kits and proceeds to show exactly what a good babysitter he is. He builds a ship from a cardboard box and takes the kits on an adventure where not only are their needs met, but they cuddle up and one by one fall asleep and are tucked into bed before the parents arrive home.

There are several morals hidden within this lovely bedtime story: think about which boundaries you push and the consequences of doing so; if it feels wrong, it probably is; and don’t judge a book by its cover are all covered quietly and convincingly within the 32 page picture book.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  9

Released by: Nosy Crow through Allen and Unwin
Release Date: June 2017
RRP: $24.99

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