This week, I’m pleased to present a fabulous new book that takes aim at bias.
Those binoculars are a metaphor folks. As adults, we tend to walk around with our perception goggles rigged for bias, possibly through parental conditioning coupled with mass media that insidiously (and often blatantly) establishes and then reinforces cultural, racial, and class bias. So we tend to see others through that lens, and to a lesser extent through our experiences.
Kids, those little sponges, need books that help them become aware, again and again, of how they may make snap judgments about others, based on what they’ve seen or heard, or even imagined. And refreshingly, unlike my soapboxing, NO BEARS ALLOWED! is not didactic. You’ll find no 2x4s for head-whacking the reader within its pages.
We start with dear ol’ Rabbit who’s afraid of lots of things, from thunder to spiders to things that go BUMP in the night. Yes, sirree, that ol’ Rabbit is afraid. What’s he afraid of most of all?
BEARS!!! Poor rabbit. And he lives in the woods. So scary! Oh, my! Kids will have great fun identifying all the things in the illustrations that show them just how scared rabbit is.
Rabbit must go on his journey to learn that fear can be misplaced, misleading, or downright wrong. And in the end, rabbit not only learns to face his fear but also discovers that others (including those big scary BEARS!!) may have similar fears, too.
By getting to know someone who’s not like us, fears/distrust/bias can fall away, and we can become friends. There are plenty of adults who could benefit from reading this book, I’m thinking.
Tara J. Hannon’s illustrations are simultaneously sweet and hilarious in their detail—a visual treat that gives kids plenty of opportunity to understand the story before they’re able to read it for themselves. Give those illustrations the time they deserve; they add another layer of richness to this sweet, funny, and meaningful story. Enjoy!
Pair this book with THE NEW NEIGHBORS by Sarah McIntyre. Discuss how all of the animals make assumptions about other animals they don’t know.
Get additional ideas on how to talk about bias from this anti-bias website: Teaching for Change
Have kids draw friendly bears and scary rabbits. Ask them to be specific about the details that make each look friendly or scary.
Title: No Bears Allowed
Author: Lydia Lukidis
Illustrator: Tara J. Hannon
Publisher: Blue Whale Press, 2019
Ages: Preschool-2nd grade
Themes: Bias, Fear, Friendship
For more perfect picture book recommendations, visit Susanna Hill’s website.
32 thoughts on “No Bears Allowed – Perfect Picture Book Friday”
Wow, thank you for this wonderful review!!!
And thank you for the wonderful story!
I’ve seen this book on several posts – can’t wait to peruse it myself!
I hope you’ll be smitten. Enjoy!
You both made my day!! I’ve been hustling for years trying to get published so this book is very special to me 🙂
It must feel fantastic! Congrats on your accomplishments! Enjoy!
I’m with beginning-of-the-book bunny on this one. Bears are scary! I have proof:
Oh, oh, ohhhhhhh, this is hilarious! But I’m not sure this qualifies as “proof.” That murder carpet looks pretty comfy to me…..
I love this!!
Confession: I love bears but I’m deathly afraid of spiders!!!
So is my 15-yr-old son. I’m going to have him read your book!
Leave it to YOU to find the only cute spider known to mankind.
I’m here for you.
Haha, my 7 year old finds Lucas super cute!
Wonderful review! And I love that you mention class bias, too – something that is so often overlooked. I definitely need to find this one!
Thanks, Patricia! I think that class bias is part of what got us into the mess we’re in right now. I hope we can figure out how to make our differences a source of celebration, rather than division.
Thank you both for seeing the metaphors in the book. Rabbit’s initial attitude is one we see plenty of all around us. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of cultivating empathy and getting to know one another…
This is a great review, Jillanne, and I like the activities that you have chosen to go with the book. It’s really nice when people “get” the story beyond the surface. Thank you! And thanks to Lydia and Tara for creating No Bears Allowed.
I’m sorry, Jilanne, I see that I added an extra L to your name in my previous comment.
No worries about the misspelling, Alayne. I think kids are quite perceptive, which is why we don’t want to write books that smack of lessons to be learned. Adults may not spend the time with a picture book that children do, and in the process miss the deeper meaning.
I must say that there have been plenty of times where I’ve not read a book deeply enough. And then I read a review or discuss it with someone and voila! I see what I missed and develop a new appreciation for the story.
It’s true. And sometimes, we can read the same book at different times, and see different things.
I really want to read this one! It looks great!
It is great! I’ll bet there’s a copy waiting somewhere, waiting to be read by you…..
Aw, thanks Andrea!!
I thoroughly enjoyed your review! What a fun story with a lot of insight into how we make assumptions. Great for kids. Great activities.
Thanks, Patricia! I think you’ll love the book!
Aw, thanks for the sweet words!