Bears Don’t Wear Shoes

Blog Tour, Books for Empathy, Fiction, Picture Books, Story Time / Thursday, February 25th, 2021

I remember, vividly as a 5 year old moving house, and my best friend of the time saying to me, in school, “will I ever see you again?” I gave my serious friend no assurances at all. The truth was, I moved round the corner, about 4 houses away! But small things like that, are immense when you’re 5! Bears Don’t Wear Shoes, written and illustrated by Sharon Davey and published by New Frontier Publishing delves right into this feeling, and much more, and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour.

Suzy has moved into a new house, and it’s all go for her family as they unpack and do all the house-move type things needed. In unfamiliar territory and no longer surrounded by her friends, Suzy begs for some attention, play time, anything! But everyone is just too busy. So plucky Suzy posts a Wanted ad on her back gate for a friend.

When a bear comes knocking on the door, he undergoes a stick selection process from Suzy herself, to ensure Bear is a suitable candidate to be Suzy’s new friend. However, Suzy loves shoes, Bear does not! He refuses to wear them in fact! Can Suzy overcome this difference between them? Can she really be friends with a non shoe lover? Well of course she can!

I love it when a creative person illustrates and writes their own picture book, their story can be realised exactly as they dreamed it, and Sharon Davey is certainly one of the most dynamic illustrators out there. Bears Don’t Wear Shoes is packed with details and emotion which flies off the page, and tells the story in an authentic but brilliantly entertaining way.

I honestly chuckled my way through the back half of this story, as Suzy marches her new bear friend off for his friend interview! It’s so brilliantly realised, and the confusion on the bear’s face is palpable. The bear goes at everything Suzy requests with immense enthusiasm, apart from shoes!!

This gorgeous story helps children not only through the confusion of moving house, but also, mostly, teaches them about differences. That friendships aren’t always based on exact likes, that we can still build wonderful relationships regardless of seemingly major differences of opinion. We do not all have to be the same. An important message of empathy and understanding. But really, this gorgeous, brightly coloured and characterful picture book, is pure energetic joy and fun which children (and grown ups like me) will thoroughly enjoy.

Not only is this a fast paced fun read, but Bears Don’t Wear Shoes is full of great educational merits, some of which author and illustrator Sharon Davey shares with us here:

Educational Merits from Sharon Davey

Getting a child to share and consider another person’s feelings can sometimes be as unlikely as putting shoes on a giant bear. Bears Don’t Wear Shoes is the story of an unusual friendship and how you don’t always have to like the same things in order to be best friends. 

There are teaching moments through the book about compromise and stepping into another’s shoes. (Did you see what I did there?) The book also touches on feeling unsure when changing houses and your grown-ups being too busy to play.

Our wriggling book readers can see inside a messy house, that gets even messier with the invitation of a giant bear. They can witness Suzy being confident and proactive in finding solutions to communicating her own feelings and entertaining herself. And spoiler, she even puts her own demands aside at the end to make sure her new friend is comfortable, even when she’s not around.

  • After reading the book children could be encouraged to write their own advert, what would they like in a friend, what are their favourite things to do? 
  • They could dress up as the bear, their parents, their grandparents or even a different animal that might have been waiting to answer `Suzy’s ad.  
  • Could they draw an unlikely friendship? Maybe a giant snail and a ballerina and write their story. 
  • They could also think of ways they might entertain a bear. Could they design a garden game or invent the best bear friendly ice-cream sundae?
  • And finally, they could dream up their own pair of shoes. Perfect for them. choosing their favourite colours and fabric, would they be a boot or a sandal, sparkly or a sports shoe. Could their shoes solve problems or write stories, do their homework or make them the fastest in the class? 

Bears Don’t Wear Shoes is available now from all good book shops and libraries. You can support BookMonsters and also local bookstores by purchasing a copy of Bears Don’t Wear Shoes through my affiliate link.

Don’t forget to check out the other wonderful stops on this book blog tour.

Thank you to Frontier for sending me a copy of this book for honest opinions and thank you for reading this Book Monster review.

Book Monster Ally x

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