The Hugging Bears, Carol Butcher

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Inspired by the delightful statue of two bears on display in Kensington Gardens in London, The Hugging Bears; is the story of two bear cubs, Ruggley and Teddi, who live with their mother in the wintry wilderness. A sudden and violent encounter with humankind changes the cubs’ lives forever. Told with great simplicity and much heart by Carol Butcher, and featuring charming colour illustrations by Sue Turner, The Hugging Bears; will be enjoyed by young children everywhere. The book also has a useful message about human’s often unkind treatment of wild animals. The profits from this book will go to the charity, Happy Child International, which supports the street children of Brazil.

Publisher: Austin Macauley, Oct 2014

Reviewer: Briony Stebbings

This book has been inspired by a statue of two bears that can be found in Kensington Gardens, London, whilst I have never seen the statue next time I go to London I shall be making a trip to see the statue that gave the idea for such a nice story.

Ruggley and Teddi are two bear cubs who live in the wild with their mum, she is teaching them the skills they need to grow and survive on their own. It when they come across some humans that the story really gets going as the cubs face life without their mother.

I like the fact that the book hasn’t shied away from the fact the humans kill animals for sport but that others are kind and understand the importance of wildlife and help to look after it. It is important to teach children to be kind and how we impact the world around us by our actions.

Whilst it may have been the actions of humans that hurt the two cubs in the first place it is also the actions of humans that save them and show them love and kindness. The two bears both grow and circumstances take them in different directions, we see how they manage on their own in new environments, we learn about sanctuaries and zoos and we see them through hardships.

This book does have a happy ending though when the two cubs find each other again as grown bears and hug, just like the statue.

There are parts of the book that had me close to tears, the honesty is refreshing in a child’s book, that being said it is still a delightful read that has been combined with stunning illustrations. It is heartfelt and strong and beautiful, it is not too much for children but stops far short of treating them like idiots who can only read about happy fluffy things. With profits from the book going to the charity Happy Child International, a charity that helps street children in Brazil, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

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