Three Bears in a Boat, by David Soman, received significant buzz a while back, and I've been meaning to get it forever. You can imagine my delight when I picked it out of the stacks at the library last week! After bringing this beauty home, I could not believe we hadn't read it sooner. Suffice it to say that good things come to those who wait. The illustrations adorning these pages are stunning (one spread of the bears sailing on the open seas is so gorgeous it makes you want to dive right into the water), and I love the important theme of this story.
The book begins with three young bears desperately attempting to reach a jar of honey. Of course their efforts fail them, and instead of snacking on honey, they cause their mother's beloved blue seashell to crash to the floor where it ends up in pieces. The bears are terrified of upsetting their mother, and so begins an epic boating quest to find a replacement shell- hopefully before mom realizes her favorite one is missing. Will they be successful? Maybe, if they can stop blaming each other for the accident first...
This sweet story is made all the more special by remarkable illustrations that truly enhance the narrative. Bookish parents will love the surprises the pictures contain as the bears ask sailors (Huck Finn, anyone?!?) on boat after boat for assistance with their search. Brilliant full page spreads heighten the tension where necessary (an eye-popping, raging thunderstorm hits just as the bears argue about who really caused the shell to fall off the mantle) and then restore peace when the narrative calms and the bears take responsibility for their individual parts in the accident. The combination of the text and illustrations results in an expressive and emotive story, imparting to even the tiniest readers that though it may be intimidating, owning up to your actions and being honest with yourself and those around you is truly the best policy. And wouldn't you know it? This is just what we are working on right now in our house. Cheers to Three Bears in a Boat!
Want the book? Get it here! Three Bears in a Boat, by David Soman