Written and Illustrated by Il Sung Na
Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Every morning, Bear woke up in the same green forest under the same blue sky.
The plot in a nutshell: A bear dreams of a new home.
Bear wants a change of pace so he looks for a new home. He climbs a tree to visit Bird’s home, but it’s too high for him. He tries going underground, like Mole, but he gets dirt in his nose. He visits Goat, but gets dizzy on top of the cliff. The ocean where Octopus lives is too deep, the snowy area where Polar Bear lives is too cold and Camel’s desert is too hot. Orangutan’s forest is too rainy and Hippo’s wallow is too muddy. Thinking about all the places he visited, he returns to his home in the forest, which he now realizes is perfect for him.
This book’s subtitle is ‘A Book of Animal Habitats’ which made me think there would be more of an exploration of the different habitats, but we just get to see the different types of biomes and the various animals who live there, making this a good choice for younger readers. Author/illustrator Il Sung Na has published several different books that look at different elements of the natural world. I love the artwork in this one, which is done with handmade textures, combined and layered digitally. Some of the reactions of the friends that Bear visits are pretty comical (Octopus, for instance, is very surprised to see him underwater) and the colors are bold and beautiful throughout. It would be fun to read this book with a little one and branch out to read books about animals from each of the habitats depicted here.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that your home may sometimes feel boring, but it’s (usually) exactly where you belong.