Children’s Book Week Review 2017
‘Bear make Den’

‘Bear make Den’ was long-listed as a 2017 Notable Early Childhood Book  by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

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Bear Make Den

The book is co-written by established Australian children’s authors, Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner, and illustrated by Andrew Joyner. It follows the likeable ‘Bear’, as he comes to realise what is missing in his den, and goes about making it.

Children can relate to the theme of having their own special place (a bed-room, a cubby) and the need to personalise it. They would also have fun trying to guess, “What is the next thing that Bear ‘needs’ in his den?”

The book subtly suggests throughout what Bear truly needs in his den, and which he finally comes to realise by the end of the book.  This gentle, encouraging approach allows children to independently absorb the book’s important message about companionship.

The Bear speaks in Tarzan-like language: “den good, den great”, which makes for a fun, characterful reading. However perhaps a quick note to kids that, “This is the ‘special’ way that the Bear speaks – we speak differently don’t we?”, may be in order.

Joyner’s illustrations are drawn in a rustic, simple style bringing  to life the charming Bear and his industriousness. They are presented in a natural but bright colour palette, appealing to young children.

‘Bear make Den’ is quite endearing and I imagine could become a firm favourite, for both adult (to read) and young child (to listen to).


This book review was written by Julie – I have been on practicum at Success Public Library for three weeks as part of a requirement for my Library Studies course. I have a background in Primary education and have enjoyed helping Jessica, our Young People’s Services Coordinator, with Book week and Storytime during this time.