Bear and Chook by the Sea, by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay

Bear and Chook were fast asleep when a breeze came sniffing and licking.
‘Chook,’ said Bear, sitting up, ‘that wind is as warm as honey toast.’
‘Go back to sleep,’ said Chook.
‘That’s a holiday breeze,’ said Bear.
‘No, no, no,’ muttered Chook, opening one eye. ‘The stars are still out.’
‘That’s a holiday sky,’ said Bear. ‘It’s time to go.’

Bear and Chook are the best of friends but that doesn’t mean they are completely alike. They have quite different outlooks on life. Bear is a ‘seize the day’ kind of friend, and Chook is a more cautious soul. Bear is off on an adventure, confident that despite not knowing where it is, he will find the sea. Chook is not so sure, but determined to stay close to her friend. And find the sea they do. It’s all the fun Bear predicts and then some, but not without its dangers. Emma’s illustrations in Chinagraph pencil and acrylic paint are warm and colourful, soft and full of joy.

Friendship is very important no matter the stage in life. Bear and Chook are ageless and childlike, all at once. Bear is enthusiastic, confident and outgoing. Chook is home-loving, cautious and a little apprehensive about new things. Their friendship bonds are strong and Chook stays close to brave Bear as he finds his way to the beach. There Chook relaxes and enjoys the beach, with and alongside her friend. Bear’s decision to have a swim provokes anxiety again in Chook who stays on shore. When Bear is tumbled by a wave, it is Chook’s turn to be brave and supportive. A lovely story, demonstrating the strength of the bond between two unlikely friends. Recommended for preschoolers through to junior primary.

Bear and Chook by the Sea

Bear and Chook by the Sea, Lisa Shanahan, ill Emma Quay.
Lothian 2009
ISBN: 9780734411112

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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