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Let's Scare Bear

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"Let's scare bear!" says the tiny mouse. But the pint-size bully's plan backfires in this takeoff of a Japanese tale.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

Mouse, Fox, Spider, and Snake want to scare Bear. But nothing scares bear. Except for one thing. Bear says that he's scared of manju cakes. Mouse and his friends try to scare Bear by throwing their manju cakes at him.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Holiday House
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  132 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Shaye Miller
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This cute little tale is based on a classical Rokugo story that is traditionally performed onstage by a storyteller. Based on the cover, it appears that bear is scared. However, we quickly learn that bear isn't scared of sharp teeth, sticky webs, a coiling snake, or being yelled at. Nope, he says Manju cake could very well be his downfall. Children will definitely enjoy this surprise ending! The artwork in this book was created with mixed media.

For more children's literature, middle grade
Interestingly energetic mixed media illustrations complement a modern updating of a classic Japanese tale in this picture book. Tales like this are known as rakugo and are typically told by a talented storyteller. In this one, four animal friends are ready to devour their manju cakes when Bear lumbers by. For some reason, they decide to scare him, and one by one, Fox, Spider, Snake, and Little Mouse give it their best efforts. Bear has no trouble fending them off. After he tells them that only ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-time
I was like, "Heh, that's pretty good, yeah." And then I read the little author's note about the story, its origin, and definition of manju buns and I'm diggin' it more now. I love see children's books based on stories from other countries and cultures (I'm kind of sick of the rehashings of the same five classical German and English fairy tales).
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reminded me of the Brer Rabbit story, in which he tricked another animal by begging NOT to be thrown into the briar patch, which of course, was exactly where he wanted to be thrown. In this story, Bear pretends to be frightened of manju cake... Appealing, expressive illustrations.
Manju cake is a Japanese steamed bun treat.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-alena
I would like to read more by this author. I'd also like to try manju cakes. It's very clever how the spider "talks" through its webs. Alena and I enjoyed this book.
Pat Cummings
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Witty and handsomely illustrated update on a folktales that will tickle young readers. Each characters has a unique approach in their effort to scare bear and their expressive features and body language tell the story beautifully even for those little ones who can't read yet. The trickster twist ending will have them wanting to reread the story again and again. A wonderful debut picture book with really engaging, delightful art.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wherever you go there will always be those individuals who take pleasure in playing pranks on others. These tricks range in complexity from a jump and shouted boo to an elaborate deception taking days, or even weeks, to put in motion. Responses of the recipients of these high jinks range from reluctant admiration, irritation, discomfort, fear or to thoughts of retaliation or justice. The bottom line, truthfully, is no one likes to be the target of another's shenanigans.

When we see antics like
A group of animals are sitting around snacking on manju cakes when Bear comes along and makes a big racket. They decide that it would be awesome to scare Bear, since he's so big and strong and noisy. All of their efforts only make Bear laugh. Then Bear tells them that the only thing that frightens him is manju cakes. According to the author's note at the back of the book, this story is based on a "classical rakugo story 'Manju Kowai,' which means 'Scared of Buns.' Rakugo is a traditional ...more
Ms Threlkeld
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Four forest friends - Mouse, Fox, Snake and Spider - are enjoying manju cakes when Bear walks by. Everyone knows Bear is the strongest and bravest animal in the forest, but maybe the feasting foursome can scare him. First Fox jumps out at Bear flashing his knife-sharp teeth, but Bear just laughs. What about being caught in Spider's web? Nope, Bear just tears it down. Neither of the other animals can scare Bear, but then he tells them the one thing he is terrified of - manju cakes. Will the four ...more
Teresa Bateman
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Fox, Mouse, Spider, and Snake love manju cake. In fact they are just about to sit down to a lovely snack when Bear comes by and they get the delightful idea of scaring bear. Unfortunately none of their attempts pan out until Bear tells them there is only one thing that frightens him--manju cakes! Soon they are tossing them into Bear's cave and giggling, but Bear has the last laugh. This is based on a traditional rakugo story--a type of Japanese storytelling. It's a fun trickster tale with a ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Lets Scare Bear by Yuko Katakawa. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2019. $18. 9780823439539



Four forest friends are enjoying their manju cakes when Bear stomps by. Each of them try to scare bear in turn, but Bear tells them what he is really afraid of manju cakes. They friends pelt Bear with manju but maybe the joke is on them?

Based on a traditional Japanese story, the sly twist at the end makes for a great tale. A definite good addition
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this cute story, though there were a couple hiccup moments for me. All the animals are eating manju cake (which sounds delicious), when bear comes and they all try to scare him (unsuccessfully). Bear says the only thing he's scared of is Manju cakes, so they all pummel him with a bunch of manju cakes in his cave (which, if not for the ending, would have been pretty mean-spirited, but I'm guessing the animals knew he was joking and were just playing along?). Of course, bear actually ...more
Annina Luck
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This is my new favorite picture book! I love the humor and all the characters in this story which is based on the Japanese oral story tradition called rakugo.

It's a great read-aloud and also is very fun to read over again because the ending is so clever. The characters are well drawn with so much personality in each one--and, of course, the bear....if I had only looked super-carefully at the cover I would have known another part of his personality right away.
Jo Oehrlein
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Reminds me of Br'er Rabbit "Whatever you do, PLEASE don't throw me into that briar patch!"

The animals try everything to scare Bear. Nothing works. Bear slips and lets them know that maju cake scares him. So, they throw all their delicious maju cake at Bear and Bear eats it *all* up.
Chris Hays
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Well this book starts off a little zany. The artwork has a couple of pages that could be frightening. However, this is a great book that I will use in class at some point. I have not wrapped my head around the social aspects before its use, yet I look forward to students thoughts.
Nov 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019-new
Mary Ann
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great humor and energywill make a fun read aloud. ...more
Library To-Go
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Little Learners 02/20/20
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet and whimsical, with adorable illustrations.
Janet Damon
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautifully illustrated story based on "Scary Manju." When four friends try to scare Bear, the bravest animal in the forest, there are unexpected results.
Syntha Green
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A cute folktale
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A delightful re-telling of a Japanese tale. Wonderful illustrations with lots of humor. This will make a great story-time book.
The description of the book uses the word "bully," but I wouldn't use that word. It's just a silly little book about scaring a bear, and how it backfires on the ones doing the scaring.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous retelling of a delightful Japanese folktale. This is sure to entertain kiddos in story time! (Loooove the illustrations, too!)
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything about this was delightful
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn't see that ending coming. HA!
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the behavior of the other animals and bear's response but once I learned more about rokugo, I appreciated this interpretation of the tradition!
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun twist.
ALA ALSC Notables 2020
Edward Sullivan
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Delightfully illustrated, lighthearted tale that is a twist on a classic story from the Japanese oral tradition of rakugo.
Miss Sarah
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Three animals having a snack try to scare the local bear but who will have the last laugh. Preschool and up
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