Not So Scary Bear, by the very talented Ruth Waters, is a gorgeously illustrated, funny and adorable picture book for young children about bravery, breaking stereotypes and being yourself.
Every night Scary Bear roams the forest looking for other animals to terrify by roaring at them, as is expected of any self-respecting scary bear. Every day, however, he reverts to his normal self – Not So Scary Bear – and spends his time knitting quietly.
On page 8 NSSB reveals his final, shocking secret to his readers: he doesn’t like roaring at animals. At night, he would actually prefer to hang out wearing his rather gorgeous knit sweater and gaze out at the moon and the stars through his definitely-not-scary telescope.
BUT, we are told:
This is NOT how a scary bear is supposed to behave.
NSSB is rather sad and dissatisfied with life in the not-so-scary closet. It’s a bit lonely in there. So he rustles himself up a disguise and goes out to try to make friends with the woodland animals.
Along the way he meets Not So Wise Owl (he’s a bit dim but very complimentary about NSSB’s pretend sock ears), Not So Cunning Fox (a pretty up-front bloke, as it turns out) and Not So Quiet Mouse (a rather rowdy rodent).
All goes well until NSSB’s disguise starts to unravel and he must reveal his true (not so scary) self or risk losing his new friends!
Not So Scar Bear is fun to read with vividly coloured pictures and plenty to talk about!
Grab a copy of Not So Scary Bear from your favourite bookshop or online from Windy Hollow Books or Booktopia:
Find out more about the making of Not So Scary Bear, which Ruth Waters wrote for her 2-year-old son, and see the original sketches (!) on Ruth Waters’ website. Here’s what Ruth says about the very beginnings of NSSB;
I first had the idea of Not So Scary Bear when I was on a very rare weekend away (sometimes you need a break from the norm for the sparks to ignite). At the time I didn’t know the full story but I did know I wanted to create a book for my 2-year-old son Sam about being yourself, and not what mum, society or even yourself believes how you should behave. In particular, the gender stereotypes that we place on our child, other children, grown-ups and, especially, ourselves.
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links.