Books like this are so important, children with hearing difficulties need to see themselves represented in the books that they read and in Boy Bear they have a wonderful character who has challenges that they will be able to relate to.
Despite Dad Bear’s very loud voice, everything is quiet in Boy Bear’s world. He doesn’t mean to be rude but sometimes he doesn’t respond to his friends when they talk to him and he is not always sure what his friends are laughing at. In school, he knows to sit at the front of the class but even then he can not always hear all of the words that his teacher is saying. It often sounds like everyone is saying the same thing to Boy Bear…”Can bears ski?” But surely this can not be right. Hopefully a trip to a special lady can help Boy Bear find out what everyone is really saying to him…
Can Bears Ski? is a gentle portrayal of one lovely little bear who is struggling to hear the world and everyone in it clearly. Boy Bears loves his loud, colourful clothing and embraces everyday with enthusiasm but something is missing. Told from Boy Bear’s perspective, he narrates his difficulties of hearing others. From taking cues from the sound he feels rather than the sound he hears, the social awkwardness of group conversations where he js unable to detect everything that is being said and knowingly join in with the laughter, to only hearing bits of conversations and the pitfalls of unintentionally coming across as rude.
Everything is explained in a simple and light-hearted way whilst all the time educating readers on the challenges that Boy Bear has. It shows children who can help those with hearing difficulties and introduces them to audiologists, hearing tests and audiograms. This is then nicely followed up with finding ways to improve hearing difficulties with Boy Bear receiving support from a hearing therapist, lessons in lip-reading and plastic ears (hearing aids). Other tips are included in the narrative as Dad Bear makes sure that he gets down to Boy Bear’s level, looks directly at him and speaks slowly and clearly. The whole book is beautifully illustrated with plenty of cute bears.
A wonderfully insightful read and is perfect for developing empathy and understanding. This gentle and informative exploration of what the world can be like for a child with hearing difficulties will be welcomed by parents and provides comfort and reassurance that they are not alone.
Recommended for 4+.