Review of Can Bears Ski?

Can Bears Ski?
by Raymond Antrobus; illus. by Polly Dunbar
Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g
11/20    978-1-5362-1266-2    $16.99

Bear’s home is loud — full of Dad Bear’s rumbling, shaking, and trembling — and our protagonist enjoys the commotion. Perplexingly, though, Dad and everyone else seems to keep asking, “Can bears ski?” Bear brushes it off — until one day Dad Bear takes the young narrator to meet an “au-di-ol-o-gist.” What follows is a thoughtful sequence that illustrates what a visit to an audiologist might look like. Bear has hearing loss, and while there are different therapies available, Bear tries hearing therapy and lip-reading lessons first. Later come a pair of “plastic ears called hearing aids.” At this point in the story, a suddenly bright double-page spread shouts the words, “CAN YOU HEAR ME?” — and the startled protagonist realizes that this was the question everyone had been asking all along. The ink-and-paint illustrations are subtle and understated. Warm tones softly illuminate the story, punctuated by bold primary colors, in this compassionately told book.

From the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Maija Meadows Hasegawa

Maija Meadows Hasegawa is a disabled librarian of color who works as the Youth Programs Librarian for the Children's Library at the Central Library of the Boston Public Library. She has previously worked at two branches in Dorchester. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons University.

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