In keeping with the apparent theme of ‘bears’ that is running throughout this year’s Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist, Jackie Morris’ Something About a Bear is a lovely journey through the lives of some of earth’s most powerful creatures.
An internationally best-selling author and illustrator, Morris uses her trademark watercolour technique in this informative and conservation-focussed picture book. Given its more poetic (rather than narrative) writing style, I would recommend this book perhaps to older readers with an interest in the protection of animals and their environment. That said, the book serves as a testament to the detail and craftsmanship of Morris’ work and can certainly be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. There is something about the way the bears’ eyes have been painted that really breathes life into the illustrations, capturing the beauty of a creature that is so powerful but yet seems so gentle.
Morris’ website (http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog) features great insights into the mind and works of a busy author/illustrator. I’d recommend checking it out for further information about the story of how this book came to be, as well as a list of sites dedicated to conservation especially for those who might be interested in the issues Morris references throughout this book among others.
There is a non-fiction element included at the end of the book, which would appeal perhaps to those who particularly enjoy learning about the animal kingdom. The endpapers even include a life-sized and gorgeously detailed painting of bear paws, against which readers can enjoy comparing the paws of their own. All in all, this a lovely story to be shared between bears and cubs alike.