Title: Can Bears ski?
Author: Raymond Antrobus
Illustrator: Polly Dunbar
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
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Description:  Dad Bear stops and looks directly at me.  “Your friend was saying hello.  Why did you ignore him?”
“I didn’t.” I didn’t.
Then Dad Bear asks again, “CAN BEARS SKI?”  Is that really what he’s asking me?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a lovely story showing a positive message about children with hearing loss. Boy Bear can feel the rumbling and noise of the curtains and his dad’s footsteps when he is woken up in the morning. He enjoys getting ready for school and then the snow outside, but then, while on his way to school, his dad tells him that he just ignored his friend and then asks him if Bears can Ski? But is that really what Dad Bear asked, or is Boy Bear suffering some problems with his hearing?

Can Bears Ski book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

‘Can Bears Ski?’ is a lovely hardback book filled with thick matt pages of colourful illustrations and text. The story focuses on Boy Bear and his day at home and later school where he doesn’t understand what his teacher is saying, or what his school friends are laughing about and the only thing he keeps hearing everyone ask is the question ‘Can Bears Ski?’. As is obvious, poor Boy Bear is suffering from hearing loss but is soon taken an audiologist to try to fix things. This is a great story to read to any children who suffer from hearing loss themselves as well as a great book to teach others what it can be like for children to experience hearing loss. The story is a positive one and ends well, although it does show some of the real life problems Boy Bear, and kids in general with hearing loss can have with not losing their hearing aids and other problems. It has a lovely and positive ending, and boy Bear finally manages to realise the question that everybody has really been asking him.

The illustrations are just lovely and capture the expressions of Boy Bear and his father, among others, and I just love how everyone looks. The pictures just look perfect, showing some of the emotion that Boy Bear and his dad go through when he’s at the doctor and the difficulties Boy Bear has in understanding those around him. The story has a great ending and I just love the last part where Boy Bear finally understands the question he though everyone was asking ‘Can Bears Ski’!

Can Bears Ski book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

This book is a great one for showing children with hearing loss like boy Bear that there’s nothing to be afraid of and that everything works out well. The book is also a great one to share with children who don’t have hearing problems but who may encounter a child with some, like a school friend as it will show them some of the difficulties that children can face not hearing, with an ultimately positive message around the situation. I remember having a book like this at my primary school about being diagnosed with diabetes when it had first happened to me, and I remember it being a very helpful book to others in my class as they understood my condition better and therefore I do think this would be a great book for children to understand fellow kids with hearing problems.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books that discuss and show subjects like this?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂