Book Review: The Very Cranky Bear

By Nick Bland

By Amanda Elshahawi, Creator, Enchanted Literacy February 15, 2022

Recommended Ages 2-7 years

I have read this book numerous times over the years but lately, I have never felt so much like the story's antagonist, The Very Cranky Bear! With so much time indoors due to the winter temperatures and germs, our days can hit points like this bear's attitude. When that happens, this book has helped shake out our blues and bring back some laughter and snuggles.  

The story begins with four friends who are seeking shelter from a jungle storm. While they play games inside a cave they are startled by a gigantic grouchy roar! Chased back outside in the rain the friends each share why they think the bear is grumpy and decide to cheer him up. The Zebra, Moose and Lion all gloat in their characteristics assuming that anyone who doesn’t look like them would have good reason to be cranky. Modest sheep steps back thinking he has nothing to be proud of that would help. However, it turns out that sheep’s thoughtfulness and kindness are exactly what resolves the bear's dilemma. 

Between the lyrical narration and vivid illustrations, this story is a big hit. We recommend the book for a day stuck indoors when your family needs a good laugh. You can add to it by acting out the story, drawing your own character puppets, or thinking about different ways that you might cheer each other up!

Amanda is a preschool teacher, mother and avid Central Park picnicker. She values community and is an advocate for families in the foster care system. One day she hopes to publish a children's book of her own. In the meantime, you can follow her Instagram, Enchanted Literacy, which encourages imagination and passion for reading.

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