Pirate Bear

Children - Adventure
32 Pages
Reviewed on 08/18/2019
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Author Biography

Sonya Annita Song is a poet whose rhymes are loved by both adults and children. Her writing style for children is delightfully whimsical with a natural flow meant for reading out loud.

Sonya's goal as a children's author is to create engaging rhyming picture books that children and parents will have fun reading together. One of her favorite memories as a child is going to the local library in the summer and bringing back shopping bags full of books to read. Books were, and still are, passports to incredible destinations full of joy and wonder, and Sonya hopes all children will discover the marvels of reading just like she did.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Pirate Bear is a work of children’s adventure fiction written in verse, penned by author Sonya Annita Song with illustrations by Javier Gimenez Ratti. Written as a picture book with a strong moral lesson, the story follows the central character Pirate Bear as he begins the tale as the ‘baddest bear’ at sea. Everyone is afraid of him and he takes from others without asking or using any kind of manners and is generally a ruthless figure for all to behold. But when Pirate Bear bonds with a cute kitten and suddenly needs the help of those around him to recover her, a change of attitude is required to gain the help of the crew he’s mistreated.

This truly heart-warming tale is not to be missed and will make a superb bedtime story for children of all ages due to its high-quality imagery and rhyming storyline that will delight generations as they read it together. Author Sonya Annita Song has done a wonderful job with a complex moral message told in a delightful and loving way. I could see this work also really connecting in schools and class reading exercises for younger generations. The illustrations by Javier Gimenez Ratti absolutely blew me away with their high quality and highly emotive atmosphere. I also really liked the level of humor they brought, especially with the pirate bunny crew. Overall, Pirate Bear is a superb example of children’s picture books at their very best and I would highly recommend it to all parents, teachers, and guardians.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Children’s books offer young readers a number of doorways into vastly magical realms, primarily because they build upon a wide variety of word/picture collages to tell their many unique stories. Some concentrate on verbal fun. Others rely on masterful illustrations to convey their simple tales. While the rhyming cadences from Sonya Annita Song delightfully tell this unique tale of Pirate Bear, it is the overwhelming artistry and intricacy of Javier Giménez Ratti’s illustrations that elevate this children’s book into greatness. Every single page of art is a masterpiece of color, drama, expression, character, and action, and any child can easily imagine himself/herself inside a story accompanied by such great pictures. Credit, then, these dual creators’ decision to keep their story simply told, thus allowing even the youngest readers to fully immerse themselves without undue listening attention.

Pirate Bear may be narrated with rather a minimalist use of language by Sonya Annita Song, but her rhymes are perfectly metered to lull one’s disbelief while also navigating a wonderfully fantastic plot line, ensuring that any young adventurer sailing with this crabby old bear will understand exactly what is going on. And though, in the end, this is a heartwarming tale of redemption and transformation, it really would be a shame to spoil the story depicted here with too much revelation of its plot. Suffice it to say, this yarn is about a gruff old pirate with daunted comrades all around, several threatening crocodiles, and a tiny kitten. And it’s in everybody’s interest to find the kitten. Did I give too much away? Don’t worry. The kids will love it.

Jack Magnus

Pirate Bear is an animal/action and adventure picture book for children written by Sonya Annita Song and illustrated by Javier Gimenez Ratti. Pirate Bear was the scourge of the Seven Seas. His crew lived in fear of him, never knowing just what he would do. Would he put them to work with a bucket and sponge? Or would he, in a fit of pique, turn them into tasty rabbit stew? The frightened rabbits never did know what he’d do next. Likewise, the crocodiles hated hearing him roar as he ran after them, cutlass in hand, eager to inflict unspeakable harm. He made everyone who came in contact with him miserable. Then something remarkable happened.

Reading Pirate Bear reminded me why I love reviewing children’s books so very much. Opening the first page instantly sets the scene for the story. You can feel those waves undulating past the pirate ship courtesy of Javier Gimenez Ratti’s brilliant and colorful illustrations. His artwork brings each scene to life, imparting an animated sense of motion as you behold flying fish coursing through the waves and going airborne, horrified bunny crew members hiding from their pirate captain, and alligators lumbering wildly as they seek shelter. Song’s lyrics are fabulous and fun; they have a musical and compelling cadence that’s never sing-song.

I’m always just a bit leery of children’s books that attempt to be fables bent on teaching children manners or imparting the hard lessons to be learned from not doing what they’re told. Often the joy of reading, of experiencing the art and getting lost in the adventure, is dulled by an all-too-obvious lesson. Here, however, the dynamism of the story and the artwork got me past the initial recognition that Pirate Bear never did say “please,” and I continued happily experiencing the book. That sense of connection and enjoyment stayed with me throughout. Yes, lessons were there to be learned, but they flowed naturally with the text. Aesop was a master at doing just that, and this author seems to have the talent to do so as well. Pirate Bear will entice adults and children alike; it’s an awesome read that proves how marvelous the imagination can really be. While a grand selection for story time, it’s also a suitable primer for a new reader to enjoy. Pirate Bear is most highly recommended.

Edith Wairimu

Pirate Bear by Sonya Annita Song is a fun children’s story that teaches the values of kindness and courtesy. Pirate Bear is fearsome and sometimes cruel. He ensures every sailor knows who is in charge and, in turn, the sailors run from him in fright since he has been known to be unpredictable with his punishments. Even the crocodiles at the lake are afraid of him. On many occasions, he runs after them and they dash away in terror. Pirate Bear relishes fighting with every creature he meets at any opportunity he gets. One day, a little creature attaches himself to his fur. For the first time, Pirate Bear begins to re-examine his behavior, but then it might be too late and his friend might have left for good.

The creative illustrations in Pirate Bear make the story even more compelling and bring the characters to life. The rhythm of the words makes the work easy to recite and builds anticipation for the coming words after each line. Beneath the thrilling adventure and the comical events, the tale delivers an important lesson for young readers. Pirate Bear is self-obsessed and only views his companions as his minions until one day when he needs their help. He realizes why it is important to treat those around him kindly. The song at the end helps to summarize the story and makes it memorable. It also adds a fun activity that young readers can engage in after reading the tale. Pirate Bear by Sonya Annita Song is captivating with its beautiful illustrations and funny characters.