No Bears
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No Bears

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  344 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Ella wants to tell you a story--a story with absolutely no bears. You don't need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles and maybe funny things and exciting things. But you definitely do not need bears.
Hardcover, 25 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Candlewick Press (first published June 1st 2011)
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Allison Parker
Ella is writing this book, and she makes it perfectly clear that no bears are allowed in this story. Bear books are abundant, it's true, and Ella is sick of 'em. So her story is one of princesses, castles, monsters, and adventures, and no bears, thank you very much. So she tells a very nice traditionally fairy-ful tale, blissfully oblivious to one bear's vital role in her plot.

The only reason I didn't love this book was because I didn't understand why a bear would help with the "construction" of...more
Little Ella sets out to write a book full of pretty things, fairytale excitement, and danger. She has one rule, there will be no bears! She emphatically states this over and over. As one might expect though, hanging around the edges, just beyond the reach of the story, is a bear.

Once Ella's prelude is over, she starts to create her story. Her book centers itself within the two page spread, and shares the page gutter of the actual book. From the sidelines the bear observes and even participates,...more
Clare Cannon
With subtle, warm illustrations, this book is pretty much what the title suggests: a story with no bears in it—except to mention that there are no bears. It is not clear why Ruby has an aversion to bears, but she does, in stories at least. The best part of her story (which has a childish simplicity, is totally unbelievable and not at all intended to be) is the illustrations which are intricate and patterned, with lots of little details to spot and admire.
A clever young girl decides to write a story without bears in it. Metafiction for the younger set with allusions to classic fairy tales on every page.
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: NO BEARS by Meg McKinlay and Leila Rudge, ill., Candlewick, March 2012, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-5890-8

“Hi! I’m Ella and this is my book.
You can tell it’s a book because there are words like Once upon a time
and Happily ever after
and The END.
I’m in charge of this book, so I know everything about it --
including the most important thing, which is that there are NO BEARS in it.”

I cannot remember his name, but as I read NO BEARS to myself, I am so clearly hearing in my head the loud vo...more
Sharon Tyler
No Bears written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge is a fun picturebook in which young Ella declares that she is going to tell her own story. What will make her story the best, is that there will be absolutely no bears in the tale. There will be princesses, funny things, pretty things, magic things, and exciting things, but no bears! The story elements are fun and brightly illustrated, rich in irony as a bear plays some very important parts in the story.

No Bears is a fun story about...more
Ella has written her own story, it has pretty things like fairies, princesses, and castles, and it has funny, exciting, and scary things like monsters and giants. Ella’s book has a lot in it, but the most important thing is that there are no bears! Ella is adamant about her no bear policy as she tells her story of faraway lands and a princess needing to be rescued, while all along there is a very nice and helpful bear hiding there next to her book. Readers will enjoy Ella’s story and find it hum...more
Summary: No Bears

Ella is writing a book, and she knows what sort of book it will be. Her book will have pretty things, fairies, princesses, castles, funny things, exciting things and scary things but most importantly NO BEARS. After all, "Every time you read a book, it's just BEARS BEARS BEARS - horrible furry bears slurping honey in awful little caves."

Then follows Ella's delightful story including, yes, a princess (Ella who has donned a paper crown for the part), a king and queen (who look rat...more
Amy Musser
This is Ella’s book and she’s here to tell you that it’s a wonderful book because there are absolutely no bears in it. According to Ella, there are lots of things you need for a really good book: pretty things, scary things, funny things, castles, princesses, a monster, but no bears, not even one. As Ella creates her story, about a princess who is chased by a scary monster, it’s a good thing she doesn’t notice the benevolent bear hiding behind the pages of her book.

The fun element of this book i...more
Caryn Caldwell
Ella likes a lot of things about the book she's writing. It contains princesses and fairies and castles and a lot of other elements she considers essential to a story. Best of all, it has NO BEARS. But what Ella doesn't notice is that behind each new page she draws, there's a motherly bear gently helping Ella's nice characters succeed and working to vanquish the evil ones.

The fun premise and beautiful, action-packed illustrations make for an enjoyable read, and new details pop out every time I r...more
Courtney Huskisson

I was drawn in first by the illustrations, but the story itself is also lovely.

It's very interactive (probably better for an older child). There is kind of two stories happening at the same time. You have the main narrator, but then there is a whole background scene that changes the entire book. The story even ends at some what of a cliff hanger that requires some intuition and creativity. Definitely great for conversation and exploration with a young one. Very cool.
Ella knows a book when she sees it: "You can tell it's a book because there are words everywhere. Words like Once upon a time and Happily ever after and The END." She also has definite ideas about what should and shouldn't be in them. Fairies, princesses and castles are in and sometimes a monster or giant, but bears are definitely out. So Ella crafts her story about the beautiful princess who is captured by the awful monster.

However, Ella's story is not as bear-free as she believes it to be. Whi...more
Ella loves telling stories, and she has definite ideas about what words and characters to use. For example, her story requires a princess and a monster and some funny aspects mixed up with exciting things. She has just one taboo, though: There will be no bears in her story. As she begins to embellish her fairy tale featuring a princess who is stolen by a monster until being foiled by "somebody" (unpaginated). Observant readers can see that the story she thought was completely free of bears actua...more
Karen Arendt
Ella writes a fairy tale that has no bears in it, not one! She tells a story of how there is a king, a queen, and a fairy god mother, but not bears. She illustrates her story, too. The princess in the story is taken by a monster but is finally saved by the fairy god mother In reality a bear saves her. The illustrations show various fairy tale characters, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, the Gingerbread man, etc. In each page of the book within the book, there is a bear at the edge of El...more
Ashley D--
I love a good cheeky picture book. This one is particularly good for storytime because the bear is on every page, even though the text says there are no bears in the book, so kids have a lot of fun pointing out that the girl is wrong and there's the bear right there. It's especially cute that everything good that happens in the book is because of the bear, not because of the girl.

A lot of the story happens in the illustrations, which is my favourite, because why bother being a picture book if th...more
Kristina Silverbears
Although there are supposed to be no bears in the story one bear is conspicuously present. An older child may enjoy pointing out that bear and exploring its actions. However, I do not think that the story of the girl who wants to have a book sans bears is really resolved.
Rebecca Ann
I love this book! A little girl named Ella decides to us a story with absolutely NO bears in it, because she doesn't think you need them, even though they always show up. As she tells her story, we can see in the pictures that a lovely, friendly bear has indeed crept into it, although Ella doesn't notice. Just when the princess of her story is about to be kidnapped by a monster, "someone" saves her. Ella thinks it is the fairy godmother, but we can see the bear's sleeve :). The illustrations hav...more
I really enjoyed this. It was an especially fun book for little girls with active imaginations. The illustrations were great, and the story was cute and succinct. No real complaints.

It's a worthy addition to your home library.
Ella is writing a picture book, but unlike most other children's books these days, her book will not contain one single bear. She spends quite a bit of time clarifying where there are not bears in her story. In the end, it is a bear that saves the princess in her book.

This is a great book for teaching writing. Look how Ella restricts herself to the "no bear" rule and how it backfires. A writer writes and lets the story go where it needs to. Ella tries to control it, but her obsession with bears...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked a lot about this--the artwork, the story-within-a-story, the line, "her father, the king, her mother, the queen, and her fairy godmother, the fairy godmother." I liked how much there was to discover, both in terms of what was going on outside of Ella's understanding as well as all the nursery-rhyme and folktale references to catch. Not quite sure though--when the bear grabs the fairy wand, is she stepping in and saving the fairy godmother who has neglected to keep the wand with her in ca...more
Jessica Harrison
full review at Cracking the Cover

“No Bears” is a whimsical tale within a tale that works perfectly. Even while Ella is telling her tale, a sweet little bear is also making an appearance. And Ella’s tale itself is exactly the sort of story children make up every day.

There’s a great deal of sophisticated humor throughout the text and illustrations that will appeal to children and charm their parents. It’s great fun to see the story play out. And make sure to watch for some familiar fairy tale char...more
Amy Brown
The illustrations and design of this book are excellent. The story is decent. The winner of this duo is the illustrator, Leila Rudge.
The Styling Librarian
Here is an Australian author/illustrator who is akin to Lauren Child, one of my favorite book creators. What a cute story with an additional story through the illustrations… like Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman. A little girl share how she is creating a story which has absolutely no bears in it since she’s totally sick of seeing bears in stories… and in the background there is a bear helping, rescuing, and interacting in the background on every page. What a hilarious book this was—and...more
This is a book with no bears! You don't need bears for a book, after all. You need things like fairies, princesses, castles, monsters and giants. You need funny things and exciting things and scary things and pretty things. But you don't need bears! Okay, so, there might be a bear in the illustrations. And the bear might just use the fairy godmother's magic wand to help foil the monster, but the author doesn't seem to notice. She declares this book the prettiest, most exciting, scariest and funn...more
I just didn't get it.
Appeal Characteristics: Random, Fractured Fairy Tales, Weird, Nice visual art

I usually like fluffy girlie-girl stories...but I just couldn't get into this one. Maybe because it was so randomly put together...with the occasional bear strolling through...I didn't understand. I was wondering if I'm lacking a child's sense of humor at how the story is constructed... the art wasn't enough to draw me in. I dunno, I think the authors British...but I didn't think that should matter, lol!
Ella wants to tell the perfect story and that mean NO BEARS in her book. She needs something with fairies, magic and maybe a monster... but never a BEAR.

Why I picked it up: New children's books are always exciting and I've been waiting awhile for this one to arrive.

Why I finished it: Darling illustrations and I can't wait to share it with the kids in Story Time. They will get a kick out of the bear that's not in this story.
Debbie Tanner
I read this book twice to make sure I understood what was happening because the text tells one story but the pictures are different. The ending is a little vague and that's why I re-read it-to make sure I understood what the author meant or I guess what the illustrator meant. The pictures are soft and very pretty but you have to pay pretty close attention them to figure out what's really going on.
Bridget R. Wilson
What I thought: No Bears is hilarious. Am I the only one who sees the bear lurking and helping things along? I can hear my story time kids laughing now. The bear doesn't get recognition for saving the day, but I don't think I mind. I like the illustrations--soft colors and good use of white space. Pair with More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt for a jolly story time.

Story Time Theme: Bears
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Meg McKinlay is a poet as well as a children's writer. She lives in Australia and divides her time between writing and teaching at the University of Western Australia.
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