Cover image for Bravest ever bear
Bravest ever bear
Ahlberg, Allan.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 x 28 cm
Fairy tale characters tell their stories from their own perspective, with new endings, and find themselves encountering each other as their stories overlap.
Reading Level:
AD 350 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 68588.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.A2635 BR 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Once upon a time there was a bear. No, three bears. No, four and twenty black bears. Let's start again. Once upon a time there was a penguin. No, a sausage. A sausage? That can't be right. Once upon a time there was a perfectest ever princess, a wolf, a troll, a dragon and a ... sausage (again). Who wrote this stuff? Once upon a time there was ... Oh, we give up.If you really want to know who there was and what they did, you'll just have to read Allan Ahlberg's funny and ridiculous stories for yourself! With lively illustrations by Paul Howard, this collection of false starts, revisionist fairy tales, and familiar -- yet joyously eccentric -- characters is a tribute to storytelling and a toast to silliness. Join in the fun!

Author Notes

Allan Ahlberg was born in 1938 in South London, and grew up in the Black Country. He worked as a teacher, postman, grave digger, soldier and plumber's mate before he became a full-time writer.

He met his wife and creative partner, Janet at teacher training college. It was because Janet wanted to illustrate a book that Allan wrote his first book, the Brick Street boys. After that, together they wrote 37 books.

Janet died in 1994 and Ahlberg discontinued his writing career for a few years before picking it up again.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. A bear fancies himself a storybook hero, but an unidentified author places him in unsatisfying situations such as "Once upon a time there was a bear. The End." Frustrated, the bear takes over, writing--and delightfully fracturing--fairy tales familiar and outrageous. A penguin, princess, sausage, and four-and-twenty black bears also get opportunities for starring roles, as do the villainous troll, wolf, and dragon. After more adventures, heroics, and tasty treats, the satisfied bear is happily carried off to bed. This whimsical, charming book is filled with hilarious nonsequiturs and inventive plot twists with much kid appeal. Characters interact and converse with themselves and the reader, often interrupting the action to comment on the direction of events. Brightly colored, detailed illustrations provide apt accompaniment, placing the disparate characters in lively, chaotic scenarios with witty results. Surprises and absurdity abound in this sure-to-please, lighthearted read. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

The creators of Mockingbird here serve up an appetizing series of "Once upon a time..." short takes that lead whimsically into one another. The title character offers a disparaging commentary on the initial entries ("What's going on?"; "This is ridiculous"), then decides he will take over the writing. The ursine hero puts himself in the spotlight as he rescues Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from the wolf, bests the troll under a bridge and ties up a dragon that is "eating everything--left, right, and center--and setting fire to things." As part of his reward, the victorious bear receives the princess's hand in marriage, though the pigtailed royal will have none of it ("Anyway, I'm not marrying a bear"). In turn, she pens her own tale, in which she shirks footmen, French maids and princes and moves "into an apartment with a couple of friends, started a career in television--and went shopping." In addition to the villains, a penguin and a sausage who aspires to be a chef play supporting roles in this kid-tickling, episodic narrative that mixes familiar and never-before-seen characters (a sausage that cooks?), plot twists and bustling watercolor and pencil art into a silly and satisfying stew. Ages 6-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-After a few false starts-"Once upon a time there was a bear. The End"-a young cub spins his own tale. He casts himself as the hero, rescuing Red Riding Hood, punching out a troll causing traffic problems, putting out a dragon's fire, and freeing the captive princess. At this point, the princess pipes up and gives her version of events, followed by "The Wolf, the Troll and the Dragon." The silliness just keeps escalating with various characters making their own smart-aleck asides and observations. The King goes on TV and offers a refrigerator, a three-piece living room set, and a Toyota as prizes for slaying the dragon. The book design adds comedy with its variety of typefaces and pictures of different sizes popping up from all angles. To best appreciate the humor, listeners should know the stories being parodied. The lively watercolor cartoons will appeal to young children, but the book is too long for them and there are many pictures and words that would need explaining. Fourth graders could enjoy the humor and situations, but it is unlikely that the title and format would attract them. However, for the right reader, this will be a hit.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.