Reviews /

Does a Bear Wash its Hair?

Authored by Moira Butterfield
Illustrated by Adam Ming
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

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Does a Bear Wash its Hair? the sequel to Does a Monkey get Grumpy? sees author Moira Butterfield explore animals’ daily routines. It may surprise the reader to learn that many animals do the same things as we humans do, even if it’s not quite in the same way. From keeping clean to making friends there are many fascinating facts at hand to enchant young readers.

For instance, while we use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush our teeth, crocodiles are helped out by plover birds who jump into their mouth and eat all the bits of food they find stuck in their teeth. Amazingly they don’t get gobbled up because they are doing the crocodile a favour. I’m sure that a favourite section will be the spread about poo. I was fascinated to read about blue whales’ giant glowing poos (as a result of their diet of pinky-red krill) and that a sloth poos a third of its body weight once a week! Once ejected it must then be buried to prevent enemies detecting the sloth’s home.

The beauty of Does a Bear Wash its Hair? for me is in Moira Butterfield’s exuberant rhyming text which is in keeping with the fun nature of the information being imparted. Moira Butterfield is one of my favourite writers of non-fiction. Her desire to impart knowledge while engaging readers always shines through and her name on the front of a book is a reassuring sight for any educator. There are additional factual snippets which could be read in a different voice (which would support fluency instruction). Adam Ming’s illustrations accompany the text perfectly and he gives the animals wonderful expressions which really add to the humour of the book. The way in which the facts are imparted makes them memorable and will help knowledge stick in the heads of young readers.

It’s so important to have non-fiction books in the classroom which work well when read aloud and this is a good one to add to any collection, particularly for Key Stage One children but older children will find much to enjoy too. Children love to acquire knowledge and this book is a great vehicle for that as well as sparking their imagination. It complements the science curriculum well but it is also a great book to have available all year round.