Big Bear and Little Fish (Sandra Nickel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Big Bear and Little Fish, written by Sandra Nickel and illustrated by Il Sung Na, a story about finding companionship in unexpected places.

Bear is hoping to win the biggest stuffed bear at the carnival, so she can’t help but be a little disappointed when she ends up with Fish instead. Bear doesn’t necessarily have anything against Fish, but they are just so different. Bear is big and Fish is small; Bear is gold and eats golden things, Fish is orange (and, therefore, probably eats orange things, Bear assumes). Bear likes long rambles through the countryside, and Fish… well, Fish lives in a bowl. So while Fish attempts conversation, Bear doesn’t know how to answer… she just doesn’t think they could ever have anything in common. After an extra-long ramble and a good, long think, Bear finally decides to tell Fish that it would be best if she did not stay… but after finally sparking up a conversation with her new companion, Bear will be surprised to find that they have a lot more in common than previously thought.

A very sweet lesson on making assumptions based on appearances. With peaceful yet pragmatic text, Nickel weaves a wonderful tale of pre-judging others in a way that allows children to immediately understand the flaws in Bear’s thinking (while still making her a sympathetic character), yet also introduces a lesson on perspective that proves thought-provoking for all ages. Along with Na’s charming illustrations, it makes for a compelling narrative with extremely applicable life lessons. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ truly enjoyed Bear and Fish’s interactions, especially the idea that friends don’t always have to be exactly like us to find common ground. A peaceful and encouraging little contemplation, and we absolutely recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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