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‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’

‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen’s ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ is a great text to read to children about facing adversity. A family decide to go looking for a bear, and declare – ‘we are not scared’, but they then face a series of obstacles, including a river, a snowstorm, and a muddy swamp. Suddenly they do seem a little more scared. At each point, the family realise that they cannot avoid the obstacles, but must ‘go through’ them. They finally do find a bear, and realise that they are terrified and have to re-do the tricky journey to their home, where they can hide safely under the covers. 

Even very young children can engage with the idea that it is not always possible to avoid something that is difficult. This is particularly relevant during the pandemic, but also for a range of other situations, including changes at home, and struggles at school. The contrast between the excitement when the family set out on their walk, and the reality of their feelings when the family find the object that they were seeking, is interesting to talk to children and parents about.  Although children and adolescents in fearless moments sometimes declare that they are ‘not scared’, this is not always the full picture and may be connected with a wish to be strong, or excitement, rather than a reality. Adults may need to help children hold in mind the more mixed picture of feelings, so beautifully depicted in this book.