Four Bears in a Box

Children - Adventure
32 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2019
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Author Biography

Zoom Into Books Author

Dreama Denver was married for three decades to TV icon Bob Denver, known to millions worldwide as the star of the television classic Gilligan’s Island. The two met when they were cast opposite one another in a theater production, and toured the country for many years performing together. An author and speaker, Dreama keeps Bob’s legacy alive via her work with The Denver Foundation, supporting special needs children and U.S. veterans. This is her first children’s book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

Beyond the interesting celebrity connection, there is a fascinating backstory to Four Bears in a Box, written by Dreama Denver and illustrated by Ashley Belote. Although not necessary for appreciating the highly polished rhyming scheme and exquisitely created art partnered to tell a most imaginative and heart-warming story, learning that the tale itself was developed by a mother seeking in-depth communication with her autistic son, however, does further deepen such appreciation. Any person with even a tangential experience of familial autism will immediately feel the comforting embrace of a book dedicated to: “… those of you who get lost in the beauty of imagination.” Should I mention this is a children’s book? No, I do not believe that’s necessary.

Four Bears in a Box begins, intriguingly enough, with three bored little bears wanting something new and adventurous to do. I am sure the target of this story must have raised his hand forthwith and authoritatively declared, “But, there’s only 3 bears!” And just like that, any child - or more-than-clever adult – would instantly be hooked on this book. Dreama Denver and Ashley Belote are (the pun cannot be avoided) a Dream Team. Ms. Denver’s perfectly-chosen words not only compel attention and inspire the imagination, but Ms. Belote’s detailed artwork heightens and expands both into a wonderfully embracing experiment of unlimited, uncontrollable fun. In a box. In the garage. Who knew? Apparently, Dreama Denver … and her son. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure: Yes, there is a fourth bear. But then, that just had to be the case, right?

Mamta Madhavan

In Four Bears In A Box by Dreama Denver, three little bears - Clyde, Sadie, and Boo - had nothing to do. They had finished riding their bicycles, eaten their lunch, and played in the yard. Boo had a plan. He thought they should ask their Mom for ideas on what to do. The three of them raced to the kitchen to find Mom, who said she would bake their favorite dishes if they cleaned the house. Clyde cleaned up the den and Sadie washed and dried all the dishes. She then fed the cat, the dog, and the fish. Boo wanted to help too and, since he was the smallest, Clyde taught him how to stand on the ladder. After a while, Mom thought it was time for them to have a reward and had them close their eyes and follow her to the garage for a special surprise.

Four Bears In A Box by Dreama Denver is a wonderful story filled with fun, adventure, and imagination. It gives children ideas on what to do on a long day and will help them realize how much fun can be found in all sorts of things and how make-believe can bring magic into their lives. Ashley Belote breathes life into the characters and the scenes with adorable illustrations that are bright, colorful, and lively. It is exciting to see how the cardboard box gives them thrills and entertainment. The rhyming verses give the story a good pace and movement and rhythm. It is a good book for tutors and parents to read to youngsters for ideas on how to transform a long, boring day into one of fun and games.

Asher Syed

Four Bears in a Box by Dreama Denver, with illustrations by Ashley Belote, is a children's book that promotes creativity and imagination to its young readers. The story initially revolves around three sibling bears, Clyde, Sadie, and Boo, as they battle boredom at home. When they go to their mother, she tells them they can have a friend sleep over if they tidy up and finish their chores, which they promptly, and quite happily, do together. Their friend Dee arrives just as their mother lets them know she has another surprise for all four little bears: a giant cardboard box they can do anything they'd like with. From here, the bears go on a host of adventures of their own imaginative making, such as rock climbing and a journey through space.

Dreama Denver delivers a constructive message in an entertaining manner with Four Bears in a Box. The narrative is rhythmic and fun, something both children and adults will find engaging. The illustrations are absolutely exceptional and Ashley Belote brings the story to life as she depicts all the bears, their home, and their adventure with colorful and rich detail, using an earthy palette and expert artistry. After reading each page, my daughter took a moment to slide her fingers across and outline the images she loved most. One thing she was too young to notice but was not lost on me was a cameo appearance of Gilligan as the bears imagine themselves floating in a hot air balloon over a deserted island, a nod to Dreama Denver's late husband, actor Bob Denver. In a day and age where electronic devices seem to rule the playtime our children have, it's refreshing to read a story where nothing more is required for a grand adventure than a giant cardboard box.

Jack Magnus

Four Bears in a Box is an animal adventure storybook for children written by Dreama Denver and illustrated by Ashley Belote. Clyde, Sadie and their little brother, Boo, were having the dullest of afternoons. The three bear siblings simply couldn’t figure out what to do with themselves. The usual toys, games, even swimming promised no excitement or even interest for them. So they just sat around acting very stodgy and feeling bored with life. Then they wondered if Mom might have a suggestion for them. As they entered the kitchen, the enticing aroma of freshly baked cookies instantly raised their spirits. Then Mom promised a treat and a surprise. What was it? What could they do to get ready for it?

Dreama Denver’s Four Bears in a Box is a cheerful and inspiring story about three bored bear siblings whose long afternoon is abruptly transformed into something magical and exciting. Children and caregivers alike will enjoy seeing those grumpy, tired bears spring into action as they get ready for their promised treat. Ashley Belote’s illustrations do a grand job of making Denver’s charming story come to life. I especially loved the panels showing the bears in the library, tumbling around shelves laden with books. Readers who remember watching Gilligan’s Island will get a charge out of following the bears as they travel by balloon over the Pacific where a castaway just happens to be watching out for them. Four Bears in a Box is imaginative and filled with heart; it’s most highly recommended.

Joshua Soule

Four Bears in a Box is a beautifully written children’s book by author Dreama Denver. Three little bears are having a problem quite common in children; they’re bored! The three bears have done everything they could think of for fun, and now they have run out of ideas, so they go to their mother for help. Mother knows just what to do, and gives the bears some chores that need doing with the promise of having a friend over afterward as a reward. The little bears do their best with the chores, sometimes with silly consequences, and earn their promised reward. Once Dee, their best friend, shows up, the bears explore the garage where they find a cardboard box. The box becomes a place of adventure and imagination for these four bears, and their creativity takes them far away from their boredom. “A fast train! A castle! A brown cardboard box can be anything!!”

This is a wonderful children’s book that I recommend to all children, even my own. Dreama Denver has created a silly adventure that highlights the importance and the power of imagination. Four Bears in a Box made me smile as I read it. The text is written in a rhyme pattern that makes it fun to read and sets an energetic rhythm. The illustrations, done by Ashley Belote, are pleasing to look at and make the story come to life. Denver has created a children’s masterpiece and the secret to unlocking one’s imagination in Four Bears in a Box. It was a pleasure to read.

K.C. Finn

Four Bears In A Box is a work of action and adventure fiction written for children by author Dreama Denver and illustrated throughout by artist Ashley Belote. The picture book was created based on stories that Dreama and her husband (TV legend Bob Denver) had told to their young son, who was on the autism spectrum. The premise begins with three young bears who are bored and looking for adventure until they find a box that sparks their imaginations. So begins an incredible journey through fun and frolic, with an important message about the use of imagination and active play.

The work that has been put into this delightful picture book ensures that it is gorgeous from beginning to end, and it’s sure to delight both independent readers and those younger ones who need a parent or guardian to read along with them. To begin with, Ashley Belote’s cartoonish yet deep illustrations give a high level of professionalism as soon as you open the book, introducing us to the characters in a friendly and engaging style. Then, author Dreama Denver begins to weave her magic, and the tone of the narrative style truly feels like a mother reading to her children. There are light and shade in the language usage and a beautifully traditional rhyme scheme which makes it easy to pick up and remember the story. The plot flows with plenty of thrills and spills packed into a short number of pages, making Four Bears In A Box a thoroughly engaging and high quality read for all children.