By Author / Illustrator
Tracey Corderoy, Tony Neal
Little Tiger Press Group
Is your bath BUBBLY enough? Is your bed BOUNCY enough? Is your cereal CRUNCHY enough? Don't delay - call Sneaky Beak TODAY for deals beyond your wildest dreams! Bear and Hamster are perfectly content... until gadget-mad salesman, Sneaky Beak, arrives. But when they finally have it all, will Bear and Hamster really be happier? A hilarious story with an important message about the pitfalls of materialism.
Tracey Corderoy, creator of the wonderful Shifty McGifty series, has worked her magic yet again with Sneaky Beak. In this tale, we follow Bear and Hamster, two best friends who live together and enjoy the simpler things. One day, the friends notice yet another bold advert by Sneaky Beak. Hamster brushes it to one side but Bear can't help but be lured into the promises Sneaky claims he can deliver with a new bed, bath and even holiday destination. Before he knows it, Bear has changed many things but doesn't feel any better for it. Bear soon learns the hard way the importance of being happy with what you have.
Corderoy's language choices have allowed the text to flow from page to page and you can feel the persuasive pull of Sneaky's ad campaigns as the reader. The children I have read this too really enjoyed the description and invention of new beds and baths. Despite not being a rhyming book, I still found this book effortless to read aloud. It was very easy to connect with the characters and you can't help but feel sorry for Bear as you see him lured in by Sneaky.
Tony Neal's illustrations are bright and colourful and really add to the appeal of the book. The vibrant pictures work well to show the emotions Bear feels throughout the story but also make the new inventions seem even more appealing.
Overall, a fun addition to any story-time library.
Picture book / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+
Bear and Hamster are perfectly content in their home until they come under the influence of Sneaky Beak's persuasive sales pitch in a television commercial. The suggestion that their beds may not be bouncy enough is at first dismissed as a gimmick. However, later that night, unable to sleep, Bear begins to worry that his bed is indeed at fault. After a restless night, he orders a bounce test and discovers that his old bed needs replacing. The 'Snores-Galore Mega Bed' is duly purchased. The unfortunate outcome is that the bed is so large, there is no longer any room for Hamster, whose bed is removed to the landing.
Next, doubt creeps in about the bath and whether it is bubbly enough? Of course, Sneaky Beak has a great deal to offer on a fancy, but enormous, turbo tub. A flick of the wrong switch floods the house and poor old Hamster is swept down the stairs with a whoosh! A further disaster occurs when a new granola maker is installed.
After all the turmoil caused by his purchases, Bear decides he needs a break and soon finds himself alone in space, after being sent off in Sneaky Beak's holiday rocket. Here, he comes to his senses and realises what is important. He is soon happily reunited with Hamster and the two of them decide to go back to their simple life.
The illustrations of the retro room settings, complete with a turntable, radio and lava lamp, include many delightful details. There is also a charming contrast between the tiny Hamster and the enormous Bear and their large and small-scale household items.
This is a humorous tale with a warning to us all of the power of advertising and the perils of losing sight of what really matters in life.
Picture book / Reviewed by Judith Greenall, librarian
Suggested Reading Age 3+