Bear Make Den
The text of Bear Make Den is a collaboration between me and another writer, Michael Wagner. We worked out the story over two holidays – one in Lorne on the coast of Victoria, and one in Sydney.
I had the initial idea of a bear who had a den but nothing to go in it. We wanted Bear to be someone who was very capable and could make just about anything! But he doesn’t realise that he’s actually quite lonely, and it’s not until he does the painting on his wall and realises that what he has painted is a whole lot of other bears that he understands that his den needs other bears, as well as all the great things he makes.
I think it’s true that sometimes what we make as art can tell us what we need in our lives.
Once we’d written the story (about 50 times and in about 50 different ways!) we asked our friend Andrew Joyner if he would like to illustrate it. He read it and then sent us some little sketches of Bear – and we fell in love with the character and the way Andy had drawn him.
Our Bear was born!
I hope you enjoy Bear Make Den.
Published by Allen and Unwin - February 2016 - Hardback $24.99
What the critics say:
Joyner's engaging, big-eyed, orangey bear thinks in Godwin and Wagner's minimalist bear-pidgin, giving the impression of a gruff, practical fellow; there's a tantalising, turn-the-page pause before the reader sees what he has come up with at each attempt to make 'den right'.
Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser
The story is simple, sweet and heart-warming. My husband and I have yet to tire of this one after many reads and our four year old enjoys guessing what Bear does next as the page turns are perfectly timed to reveal each of Bear’s new ideas. Bear Make Den is sure to be enjoyed for a long time to come.
Stephanie Ward, Reading Time
I'm always blown away by the deceptive simplicity of a good picture book and this creation is no exception. The language created by Godwin and Wagner plus Joyner's playful and vibrant illustrations enhance Bear's journey and the happiness and warmth he finds in companionship. When read aloud, I have little doubt that Bear Make Den will be a hit with pre-schoolers as they guess what Bear might try next and simple, rhythmic language and effortless appeal make this a terrific choice for encouraging new and reluctant readers.
Jade Harmer, Buzz Words
The best picture books are deceptively simple - they are a perfect marriage between text and illustrations based on a simple premise that has wide application and then hidden depths so that each time the story is read or shared, there is something new to discover. This book meets all those criteria from cover to endpapers.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian
Here are some pictures form the launch of Bear Make Den, including a couple of fabulous bears drawn by students!