“Baby Bear Comes Back” is a charming story about a much loved bear. It’s a story about love from one generation to the next, but it’s much more. It includes a coloring book and a comic book. The reason is to provide several ways for a young child to approach and experience reading and learning and for the parent or adult reader to interact with the child – and have fun!
Attending an annual Texas library conference, I was told by many of the publishers attending and exhibiting that there are so many distractions today that there’s a lot of competition for a child’s attention. Many writers and publishers are experimenting with comic books – which are really just a genre of picture books – and I thought, “I wrote comic books!” In fact, I just won an award from Comic-con for “Excellence in the Comic Arts.”
But I didn’t just want to do a comic version of “Baby Bear,” I wanted to create something that the slightly older child would find tantalizing, so the comic book is the back story or how Baby Bear encounters jealousy and envy and an electronic challenge. It turns out Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is everywhere! There are even some subtle references to more sophisticated concepts for the alert adult to pick up! (Email me if you spot them….)
When you’re reading the book, make sure to look for the suggestions for questions to ask the child. One of the most popular is where “mother says ‘sh’” and the reader asks, “Does anyone say ‘shsh’ to you?” and asks “when” or “what does it sound like?” Then, in the book, mother says “shsh” emphatically which allows the reader to say “louder!” Children love to interact with the reader and the book.
I included the coloring book because my children, and now my grandchildren, love to color and illustrations or picture conceptions from the book allows the child to creatively think about the story. In addition, academic literature at all levels confirms that engagement and repetition support learning, so the coloring book provides an addition way to tell the story and engage the child.
The book is also a way to stimulate conversation and bonding between generations. The parent or grandparent or reader is encouraged to tell the child about his or her favorite companion or “lovey”.
Most of all, “Baby Bear Comes Back” is a way to reinforce the love we have for one another and the importance and rewards of reading.
Happy reading, Merrie