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Picture Book Review: 'Big Bear's Big Boat' by Eve Bunting

Big Bear's Big Boat

by Eve Bunting

illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Clarion Books, 2013

In this sequel to Little Bear's Little Boat, Big Bear gives his little boat to Little Bear and decides to build himself a big boat. He wants it to be just like his little boat (only bigger), and when it is finished, he tells it, “You are just what I dreamed you would be.”

But then Beaver, Otter, and Blue Heron begin to offer suggestions on how to improve the boat, and when Big Bear follows his friends' suggestions, he finds that the boat no longer suits him. He doesn't want to hurt his friends' feelings, but explains to them that he has to follow his own dream. So he strips the boat down to it's original state, and then rows it around Huckleberry Lake, fishing, and lounging under the sun and stars, and waving to Little Bear across the water.

It's a sweet story about following your heart and being true to yourself.

When I offered to read it to my seven-year-old, she told me that her nine-year-old sister had already read it to her. I asked her what they thought of it, and she was able to recount the whole story from memory, a sure sign that it made an impression on her.

The only thing that might have made this very nice story even better, were if Little Bear's friends had built boats of their own, to their very own specifications. But most children will identify with Big Bear, and like this book just the way that it is.


Eve Bunting is the author of more than 100 books for young readers. When she isn't writing, she enjoys reading and playing golf. Bunting lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband.

Nancy Carpenter has illustrated more than ten picture books. She especially likes to draw dogs and cats.


Renée McGrath

Renée Vaillancourt McGrathhas worked at Montana Public Radio as a program host since 2002. Her background is in librarianship and she currently works as a freelance editor, blogger, and website developer. Check out more of her book reviews at

Renee McGrath is the Sunday morning program host on Montana Public Radio and is a rotating host for Morning Classics. She writes children's and young adult book reviews for The Write Question blog every Tuesday, and also helps out in the Development Office and with web site editing when needed.
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