A Bear Named Bjorn is a wonderful, humorous first chapter book about Bjorn’s everyday adventures. Bjorn lives in a cave in the forest and his friends include The Fox, The Weasel and The Badger. Their simple forest life is juxtaposed with elements of the human world and the gentle humour in each chapter comes from Bjorn’s eccentric logic and the unique interpretations that he and his friends make of the human world.
The book consists of six short, highly illustrated chapters, it’s perfect for an emerging reader. The situations are familiar to a child but the animals’ actions give the stories an original and amusing twist.
The Sofa: Bjorn wins a sofa. His friends think it’s fantastic but Bjorn isn’t too sure, it’s far too big for his cave. But one of Bjorn’s friends notices his unease and helps him to find a way that he can enjoy the sofa too.
The Carnival: Bjorn and The Fox enjoy reading clothes catalogues and one day they decide to dress up and hold a carnival. They find various items of clothing and have a fun evening dressing up, eating and dancing (before returning everything to their rightful owners!).
Nothing: Often not a lot is happening in the forest but Bjorn’s days are never boring. It’s interesting to discover all the different ways that a bear can occupy himself in the forest.
The Present: Bjorn’s friend Ramona sends him a fork so he decides to send her a present. After rejecting several unsuitable presents Bjorn’s friends help him find a perfect present for a human girl.
Glasses: The Owl is doing medical check ups and discovers that Bjorn is very shortsighted. Luckily The Magpie has a selection of glasses in his collection. Can Bjorn find a pair that will help him? Will he wear them?
It’s Time: The smell in the air has changed and Bjorn’s friends help convince him that he needs to get ready to hibernate. Bear makes the necessary preparations and settles down comfortably in his cave.
There are so many elements that make us smile as we read these stories – a bear who reads clothing catalogues, the different checkups in The Owl’s medical exam and the fact that The Fox owns a radio. The animals’ friendships are strong, supportive and without conflict, they show kindness and give Bjorn advice when he needs it.
A Bear Named Bjorn is beautifully illustrated using line drawings that complement the simplicity of the text. Translated from French its short sentences and easy vocabulary make it a wonderful book to read with non native English speakers who will benefit from the picture clues.
Thank you to Gecko Press for sending a PDF copy of A Bear Called Bjorn for us to review. We love the gentle humour in the stories.