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The Bear Who Wasn't There
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The Bear Who Wasn't There

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  617 ratings  ·  132 reviews
This book is about Bear... so what happens when he doesn't show up on his page? Who will find him? Will it be Giraffe, who himself seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or Cow, or perhaps even the author herself?

One thing's for sure--it probably won't be Duck. Duck doesn't seem concerned that Bear is missing. In fact, he seems to be trying to steal the s
Hardcover, 38 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  617 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Slyly funny book about how bears get all the attention and people should really move on to the obvious next thing, ducks.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh man this is hilarious!

Love it.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
The premise was interesting. The illustrations were likable. My toddler didn't get it - the humor was definitely over her head but would probably be found entertaining by a kid audience older than her. But for me it just felt like the book never hit it's peak. I wanted a bit more. ...more
Barb Keltner
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud silliness!
Danielle Hammelef
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is imaginative, fun, and interactive--my kind of book! I especially loved the poster underneath the dust jacket--don't miss out on the humor inside. ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Feb 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
Yet another of those books like Interrupting Chicken and Z Is for Moose. Ha ha. How many must we have? These are picture books that have been corrupted by cartoons, where this kind of thing is ubiquitous. (And yes, those who have seen the Chuck Jones Duck Amuck cartoon will long for the olden days.) ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile
Funny book for kids who have a good sense of humor. But there isn't a kid around who won't laugh at page 11. If you read this out loud, get your voices ready. ...more
My friends and students know that I am rather fond of metafiction and am amused when the boundaries that separate readers from the text are removed. In this entertaining picture book that's precisely what happens as a Bear--the one about whom this book is supposed to be--has disappeared, and everyone is trying to find him. Well, maybe not everyone since a mallard duck is convinced that there are far too many books about bears being published and perhaps a book about a duck would be more interest ...more
This picture book is a zany romp as the reader engages in an escalating search for the elusive titular ursine beast. Featuring an attention-hogging duck, an embarrassed giraffe, a pun-spouting hare, an outraged reptile, a plethora of other avians and one bewildered author and illustrator, this book is as amusing as it is original.

The game starts on the front cover where the aforementioned duck spoils the reader. This is one aggravated bird, determined for stardom like the Looney Toons Daffy Duck
Maria Marshall
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-picture
I really enjoyed the kid humor and "behind the scenes" aspect of this book. Pham does an amazing job staying very cognizant of the child reader (as well as the adult). It contains elements reminiscent of DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS and CHLOE AND THE LION, where the interrupting, persistent duck attempts to persuade everyone that ducks are better than bears. After all, they show up for the book. The narrator even pulls the author into the fray. The ingenious humor doesn't stop with the sto ...more
Christina Baker
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
I have to admit, I have a weak spot for books that are self-aware. It cracks me up when a book calls itself a book and laughs about it. Like The Bear Who Wasn’t There. You spend the whole book searching for the bear the book is supposed to be about (including hunting down the author to see what she has to say about the situation) and hilarity ensues. I found the art clever, and while it’s one of those books that’s a little clunky to read aloud (word bubbles and such), it’s well worth it. My kids ...more
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
(2-2.95 stars) This could possibly be a story time book. You must pay attention to the end pages of this book to get complete satisfaction. The title tells the story. As the reader continues through the story a duck wants it to be about him and other animals with dialogue balloons add comments, which don't always help the reader in the search. Just when it looks like the bear has been found the author is pulled into the story to explain herself. This is a book of misleading silliness, but you mu ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
There may not be a bear in this book, but there is most definately a duck. A very persistent duck who doesn't think you really need to see a bear, or find a bear, or read about a bear. You should read HIS book. All about HIM. He will put it in front of you many times. This book is a shameless tool for the duck to promote his own agenda. But wait, what is that at the very end? Hiding under the bookjacket? That's a bear! There is a bear in this book! That attention-seeking quack had better watch o ...more
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, picture-book, 2017
Very silly book, definitely a sense of humor appealing to an average group of kids. For fans of the Z is for Moose and the like. I think I enjoyed Zebra and Moose's antics a little more, but still chuckled at good bit at the animals in this one too. And I enjoyed the duck and his own literary efforts in this too. Because ducks are reliable, after all.

If you're reading this aloud, be prepared with lots of silly voices - the characters talk to the narrator a good bit as he searches for the bear. W
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We loved it! Miss 3 adores interactive picture books. This is one that very actively breaks the 4th wall with the text involving conversations with the reader, characters, and author. There are gorgeous illustrations involving everything from bear footprints to follow, the DUCK!, and a dinosaur making a cameo performance. There are some clever word puns (Bear here? Bare hare!) that will go over younger kids heads but are fun as an adult and a good opportunity to talk about words that sound simil ...more
I was really enjoying this, thinking how fun and challenging it would be to read aloud. The book itself narrates much of the action, speaking directly to the reader. The rest of the animals have plenty to say, too. I was not a fan, however, of the reader walking in on Giraffe in the bathroom. Potty humor is cool, but not invading someone's privacy. Even if it is just an anthropomorphized illustration of a giraffe. So, everything was great, funny, hilarious... except that. It's a shame, because I ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
Two thumbs up from my little guy.

In the tradition of The Monster at the End of the Book, The Bear who Wasn't There encourages readers to interact with the book by deconstructing conventions of picture books. This was a very fun read aloud.

For those who would find it inappropriate, there is one page where an animal is surprised while in the bathroom. It is not portrayed distastefully. What child (or parent) hasn't been walked in on while in the bathroom? Kids will relate to it.
Jillian Heise
This one had me laughing along the way. Love how meta it is and that the author becomes a character in the book at some point to confirm she actually did draw the bear...that we can't seem to find throughout the story. Lots of animal characters, humor, sarcasm, and fun. Plus surprises abound in the end papers, case, and under the book jacket. This would be fun to share with kids. ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb-4th-wall, pb
We have been brought to this book under false pretenses. Duck knows how popular bear books are and he's using our weakness in hopes of earning a duck book.

We will pass silly signs, animals, and situations as we search for the missing bear. Find out what kind of madness can be made in the search for the BEAR WHO WASN'T THERE.

The narrator's text is large and perfect for a beginning reader.
Juliana Lee
Duck interacts with the reader, trying to convince the reader to tell the story about the duck since the bear isn't there. But throughout the story, the rest of the animals look for the bear so they can tell the story. Funny accidents take the reader into all the wrong places looking for the bear who finally shows up in the end. ...more
Amanda Brooke
This is a cute book to share with a couple of kids, but it would be hard to read aloud to a group. My son decided from the start that it would be like the Sesame Street book - the Monster at the end of the book. I was expecting to find the bear hidden somewhere in the book - but never found him. I didn't get it. ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I somehow missed this when it first came out and glad to have found it through a goodreads recommendation.

Very funny with terrific illustrations and is a kid-centric meta-fiction that works very well. Lots of things for sharp eyes to spot, inside jokes and clever fun. A perfect picture book for kids who are on the brink of thinking they are too old for picture books.
Kristen Boers
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A charming assortment of animals populate this book, but the main question is, where is the Bear? The narrative text combined with the myriad animal voices can be confusing for young readers during a read aloud, but my littlest little enjoyed the hunt for the bear. A fun book with adorable illustrations.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Because of all the dialogue that crops up from all the different animals, this book would only be fun read aloud IF someone could do all the voices. Not good at voices? That's okay. This book is REALLY fun read silently. It is definitely for a reader that can keep a narrator/plot straight from LOTS of interruptions. ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love metafiction, and I do appreciate the running gag about the bear who hasn't shown up for the book. We do the author trying frantically to turn the pages looking for the bear she thought she put in there ... ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
In my quest to read all of the Young Hoosier Book Award picture books for 2019-2018, I came upon this book. It wasn't terrible but I'm struggling to find the ideal audience for it. It certainly wasn't me. ...more
Melissa Flanagin
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
I love a funny, good interactive picture book to read at story time. This one is wonderful. Its very interactive, hilarious and quick. Definitely a great read that will keep their attention and have them laughing to the last page.
Bethany (CozyLittleBookNook)
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My three year old nephew had me read this book back to back too him three times, which is his magic number for books he loves. And as a plus this book is sooo funny, so adult will enjoy it too, at lest got the first ten times lol.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
You spend the whole book looking for the bear and he's on the back cover. The kids thought it was funny. ...more
Maria Shuffit
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cute story about... well, about you, as the reader, trying to find the bear in the book, and interacting with the various animal characters to find him. Fun and quirky!
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LeUyen Pham is the illustrator of many books for children, including God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, The Princess in Black series and Aunt Mary’s Rose by Douglas Wood. LeUyen Pham lives in California.

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