Sharing the joy of children’s books

One Very Big Bear


Little fingers will love following Bear’s adventures and learning to count along the way in One Very Big Bear. Here’s what Emma Coonan makes of it. 

One Very Big BearOne Very Big Bear is a fun and accessible counting book for children. It offers something a little different by building numbers and counting into a story beginning and ending with a big hungry bear, and encounters with many other animals in between.

This is a book about a bear who believes he is as big as a giant. A number of other animals, including walrus’, foxes, penguins, sea lions and sardines, decide to set Bear straight but showing him that they are just as big as he is, when they join together.

“One white bear stood on some ice. ‘I’m very big!’ he said. ‘I’m almost a giant!'”

The numbers on the counting pages are in bold making them easy to read, and the matching illustrations use clear lines, blocks of colour, and simple designs make it easier to count the images. The end of the story is very humorous and sure to leave children giggling.

I wondered as I was reading this how necessary it is for counting books to teach not only numbers, but also other small facts as they go along. Penguins and polar bears do often frequent the same stories, as they do here, but don’t frequent the same hemispheres in real life. It is something of a missed opportunity to teach children about where animals live at the same time as counting, and the variety of wonderful animals out there means that there is no shortage of opportunity to show them in their natural habitats!

This is however a very accessible counting book for those beginning to count, and those who are assisting them. The unique illustrations and clear layout make Bear a very useful companion to have on the shelf.

  • Author: Alice Briere-Haquet
  • Illustration: Raphaele Enjary and Oliver Philipponneau  
  • ISBN: 978419721175
  • Publisher: Abrams
  • Age range: 3-5 years

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


About the author

Emma Coonan

Emma Coonan loves good stories which captivate and transport the reader, whether that’s through a wardrobe, on holidays in Cornwall with five friends, or following the adventures of a small mackintosh sporting bear. When not reading she can be found out on her own adventures, hiking, walking, or searching for her next great read amongst the bookshops and stalls of Dublin.

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