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Review: The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

The Bear’s Song
By Benjamin Chaud

Chronicle Books

ISBN: 9781452114248
Grades PreK-1
In Stores September 17, 2013

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

*Best New Book*

Ah, the element of surprise – of all the weapons at an author’s disposal, surprise is one of the most potent. Originally published in France, The Bear’s Song is a timeless tale with a surprising (and hilarious) twist. Likely to charm young audiences far and wide, this is one of my favorite picture books of the year thus far.

It’s hibernation time in the forest – but there’s a problem. Instead of settling down for a long winter’s nap with his Papa, Little Bear’s love of honey has him chasing after a bee. With Papa in persuit, Little Bear follows the bee into the opera house in the big city, where Papa finds himself on stage in front of a packed house. Stunned, the elder bear decides to do the one thing that just might bring his son back: sing a song.

The book is called The Bear’s Song for good reason – it’s Papa’s lullaby that brings resolution to the story. But it isn’t what you think. Spoiler alert: bears can’t sing. Chaud defies reader expectations with delightful results, setting up a satisfying conclusion.

While Papa Bear is searching, the detailed illustrations allows the reader to search as well – there will be plenty of up-close inspection as young readers try to spot Little Bear in each spread. To accommodate all the details, the trim size is a good 4 inches taller than your standard picture book. We often talk about the text when considering the re-readability of a book, but here the artwork will play a big role in bringing kids back for more.

Beautifully illustrated, perfectly paced, and delightfully unexpected – readers will be rapt. Don’t miss this.

Review copy from the publisher.

Read an interview with Benjamin Chaud at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. AAhhh…. really love the look of this one!