This book is a delight from front to back. Yes once again I am going to talk about end papers! In rainbow bear they look like pages from a colouring book and this is perfect for the theme of this story. Also I am so thrilled to see the front end papers are different from the back end papers.
On the first end paper we see a polar bear with a satchel walking down a small hill heading towards the city. Where has he been? Where is he going? On the half title page Bear stands and watches some young artists standing at their easels. The title page shows a busy city scene. I searched and searched for bear not thinking to look up! There he was - a passenger in a small yellow plane.
Arriving home Bear presents his wife with a dozen red roses (go back and look at the city scene and you will find the flower seller) and a set of crayons for his two cubs. After a joyous day together Bear settles down to sleep. In the morning he is transformed. A refreshing swim restores him but the next night and the next the same thing happens. Finally one morning Bear sees some tracks in the snow and he traces the mischief makers.
I haven't met Stephen Michael King and yet he feels like a friend. His books and illustrations always make me smile. I love to read and re-read Where does Thursday go (Janeen Brian), The man who loved boxes, Henry and Amy and Mutt Dog. Like many other books by Stephen Michael King I really hope this wonderful book is included in the 2019 CBCA Notables and from there makes the short list. Here are some teachers notes from the publisher.
One tiny thing to notice. I absolutely do not have a problem with this, but an astute reader will point out, polar bears and penguins do not live in the same polar regions. Rainbow Bear is an imaginative story that celebrates mischief and love in a family. I'm sure the science facts can be put aside for now. I highly recommend Rainbow Bear for school libraries and as a book to treasure in your own collection.
I would pair this book with Elmer and compare the wonderful design work on the grey elephants and while polar bears.
Image source: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28202506