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SANDBEAR by Shen Roddie


by Shen Roddie & illustrated by Jenny Jones

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58234-758-1
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Hare builds a bear out of sand, but doesn’t take much effort to do it right—he gives his Sandbear a tiny mouth, a strand of grass for a hand (only one), small bumps for legs, driftwood for a nose, and no clothes. When Hare goes home for lunch, Sandbear gets cold and tries to shuffle into the forest to get warm; then gets hungry and tries unsuccessfully to pick up and eat a carrot with his grass hand and pinhole mouth. When Sandbear discovers that Hare has fallen into a hole, he sacrifices himself by jumping into the hole to make a pile of sand big enough for Hare to use to climb out of the hole. Overcome with remorse at seeing only sand, grass, and pebbles remaining in the hole, Hare resolves to rebuild his friend more completely and give him some clothes this time. The scenes of poor Sandbear shuffling along and trying to eat with one ineffective hand are a bit disturbing, and even more so when Hare pulls the grass hand off trying to get out of the hole. Although the initial premise of playing in the sand and creating an imaginary playmate provide appeal, kids may feel pity for Sandbear and dislike for Hare rather than relating to either one. Painterly illustrations featuring beach colors of sandy yellow and the aqua of the sea and sky are appealing and evoke the feeling of the seashore, but don’t quite make up for the strange, sad story. (Picture book. 4-8)