Wake Up, Bear by Lynley Dodd
It is spring, but Bear is still fast asleep. His friends try every trick they can think of to wake him up, but he keeps right on snoring. Until, someone discovers the one thing bears love more than sleeping.
Written by Kiwi treasure Lynley Dodd, the author of Hairy Maclary and friends, this story was originally published in 1986.
However, Wake Up, Bear isn't Dodd's best book. It is fairly long and repetitive, with my younger readers squirming in their seats as the book dragged.
It was also quite disheartening to see again the market influence of this story. Dodd could have created a wonderful, uniquely Kiwi spin on the classic sleeping bear tale, done so many times before. However, nearly all the creatures are ones that don't live in Aotearoa.
While this probably reflects the time Dodd originally wrote the book, it didn't make it easier to stomach. In order for our children to know our stories, we need to tell our stories.
Regardless, this classic tale still has a place on bookshelves. When the animals finally figure out to how to wake up Bear, text conventions are broken. The swooping zzzzz of the bee is fun and livens up the story.
An appearance from a cat strikingly similar to one of Dodd's other creations also spurred excitement from younger readers more familiar with Hairy Maclary.
With Dodd's signature rhyming story accompanied with those iconic illustrations, the reprint offers older readers a trip down memory lane.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Penguin Random House NZ, RRP $17.99