“Three Lessons for Astair the Bear”

by Martin Brennan, illustrated by Amy Huntington

c.2007, 2007, Mitten Press • $18.95 / $22.95 Canada • 38 pages

“How many times do I have to tell you …?”

How many times do you hear your Mom say that each day?  She reminds you about something and repeats herself. She says it again.

And again.

And again.

 

You get the hint, finally, but it takes time, right?  Well, bears are no different than kids, as you’ll see in “Three Lessons for Astair the Bear,” by Martin Brennan, illustrated by Amy Huntington. Bears have lots of things to learn, too.

One day, for instance, Astair the Bear woke up and decided that he did not care.

He walked out of his lair in his underwear, walked downtown and through the fair.  Soon Astair smelled something delicious and he decided to grab a chair at a restaurant.  He was a hungry bear without a care, but the restaurant’s owner — a skunk named Claire — told Astair that he needed to put on some clothes!  

 

Well, Astair got angry. He didn’t care what Claire wanted and he threw a fit, right there in the restaurant.  The lesson he learned -- in a smelly, icky way -- was that “I don’t care” isn’t nice to say.

Sometimes, kids get frustrated and they throw things when they don’t get their way.

Bears are the same. When Astair’s vacation is wrecked, he gets really mad and he throws a rock to show his disappointment.  But getting angry doesn’t help one bit.  When his little tantrum causes a ruckus, Astair learns that throwing rocks can not only ruin a special event that he’d been looking forward to for a long time, but it can mean a few bumps and bruises for a “growly” bear. 

 

So how many times have you told your Mom that you’re starting a new collection?  Bears like to collect things, too.  But as quickly as your shelves fill up with junk, Astair’s whole cave quickly gets crammed with collectibles and he has to sleep outside in the snow. It takes the help of his friends, Squirrel and Moose, to get Astair back in his nice, warm bed in his nice, clean cave.

Every parent knows that kids are curious and that the most-remembered lessons are those the child finds out for himself.  Since Astair the Bear is like a kid in that respect, children are going to love (and identify with) the bungling little bear in Martin Brennan’s book. 

 

In a cute rhyme that kids will instantly memorize, Brennan has created a character that is quite teddy-bearish in looks, but that has a child’s temperament: Astair throws tantrums; he is stubborn; he always wants his way; and he makes a mess.  What’s not to love, if you’re a kid?

Add in colorful, gently action-packed illustrations by Amy Huntington, and you’ve got a sure-fire kid-pleaser at your next just-one-more-bedtime-story session.

Meant for small kids, ages 2 to 5, but enjoyable by children up to age 8, “Three Lessons for Astair the Bear” is a must-have for your child’s bookshelf. 

 

Pick it up.

And I don’t want to have to tell you again.