Cuddling up to Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson

posted in: Rebecca Patterson | 6

nightbearcoverThere are lots of recipes for great picture books but Rebecca Patterson has certainly worked out one of the best set of ingredients. She takes a good dose of humour, a non-patronising, reassuring, sincere child’s-eye view of the world and adds in highly observant illustrations and a sprinkling of drama. She did it with the Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning My Big Shouting Day!, the brilliantly perceptive My Busy Being Bella Day, and has pulled it off once more with her latest book, Nightbear.

An old bear has arrived at a new home; the book opens with us following him from the factory where he was made, to his first (and unappreciative) home, to a charity shop where he is eventually bought by a young girl out shopping with her mum. The bear is thrilled to have been chosen, but how will he fit in, when he discovers that the girl already has lots of teddy bears with very important roles in her life?

A heartwarming, delightful story not just about having a great teddy bear to hug, but also about the importance of having someone listen to your stories, and the reassurance that comes from being ‘picked’, about the everyday, real worries a young child can have (from nightmares, to being ill in the night), and most of all about the enormous fun to be had with imaginative play, Nightbear is a perfect picture book.

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Starting with the gorgeous, dark sparkly cover, this book is so much fun to look at as well as to listen to. Patterson draws with a delightful, fluid simplicity; lots of smooth curves abound – as if echoing the cuddliness of the bears, and the warmth of the family. Some of the tiny details in the illustrations are like poems; they ring true in an uncluttered, authentic way that makes you see them anew, for example the way the mother holds the hand of the child when they’re browsing in the charity shop, or the manner in which the father holds the hair of the child whilst she is being sick.

A book every nursery and infant school should have, a book every charity shop should use to make a brilliant, eye catching window display, a book every family with young children will enjoy, Nightbear is an ideal book to cuddle up with.

Feeling sad at the thought of all those unloved teddy bears leading lonely lives on charity shop shelves we armed ourselves with 50ps and went off with a mission to each rescue and bring one home.

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This one (above) looked pretty comfy.

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This one looked rather resigned to its fate.

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These two had fallen over and were asleep when we saw them.

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This one was too expensive.

But eventually we each found a teddy that we loved, came home, and celebrated by dressing them up (as happens in Nightbear). I’m rather jealous of the bustle and headgear newly named ‘Treacle’ got to wear:

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Little ‘Buttercup’ got a pretty nifty hat:

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But ‘Candy’ stole the show with her badges and slides…

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Whilst dressing our teddies we listened to:

  • Stompy the Bear by Caspar Babypants
  • Freddy Bear, The Teddy Bear by Ralph’s World
  • Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear by Elvis Presley


  • Other fun activities to get up to alongside reading Nightbear include:

  • Making a patchwork blanket. Even the youngest kids can have fun making a paper collage out of coloured squares, whilst older kids could paint fabric in blocks of colour (thinned down acrylic paint is great for this if you don’t want to get dedicated fabric paint).
  • Having a Teddy Bears’ Picnic! A blanket, some bears, some biscuits… oh and a good book or two and you’re all set!
  • Ready Baggy Brown by Mick Inkpen for another great view of a teddy bear factory line
  • Enjoying these pictures of really old teddies and wondering what sort of lives they’ve led

  • Have you a favourite teddy bear? Or a teddy bear who is assigned a special job?

    Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

    6 Responses

    1. So lovely to hear that you rescued some charity shop bears – Nightbear looks adorable 🙂
      Catherine recently posted..The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson & Paul Howard

    2. Catherine – a lot of fun was had rescuing the bears 😉 I’d be happy to do it again very soon!
      Zoe recently posted..Cuddling up to Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson

    3. This is such a lovely review, thank you! You went and rescued bears!!
      Candy is clearly destined to be star.
      Rebecca Patterson recently posted..Comment on Flick’s novel, word count 350,000. by sac 2.55 chanel

    4. oh wow, Rebecca – thanks for dropping by! Yes Candy knows how to steal hearts, that’s for sure.
      Zoe recently posted..Cuddling up to Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson

    5. I love that the book is a non-patronising, reassuring, sincere child’s-eye view of the world and enjoyed your description of the illustrations. I also love your teddy rescue idea. My daughter loved teddy’s and care bears and we still have a few around here even though she is 18 now.
      Lesley @ Australian Picture Books recently posted..The Boy on the Page

    6. Looks like a lovely book and I am inspired by your activities to try alongside reading.
      Hayley
      Downs Side Up recently posted..Silent Sunday

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