There may be rumours about what antics bears get up to in the woods, but would you know how to react if you met one? This tongue-in-cheek guide is full of hints and a few surprises too…

Bears don’t always get the best rap. Often tagged as ‘grizzly’, the worst mood on the planet is described as ‘a bear with a sore head’; in short, they can be very dangerous. So what sort of individual would actively go seeking these wild creatures?

Cue one cute non-gender-specific adventurer, armed with a backpack that’s almost as big as them filled with quirky items like spare underpants and bubblegum. Our central hero is clearly intrepid. But do they have what it takes to cope with the perils that might lay ahead?

Thankfully, there’s a field guide ‘expert’ on hand to dish out some of the basics of black bears and brown bears. The trouble is, the field guide sometimes gets a little muddled (different rules for different bears, you see) which leads to comical – and perilous – consequences for our hero.

Our pint-size Bear Grylls may be a little green behind the ears when it comes to bear-spotting, but this adventurer is certainly inventive when it comes to technique. The secret weapon? A cuddly teddy bear

This is a wonderfully playful book with a mix of bear facts (presented on graph paper for an authentic ‘field guide’ feel)  and a fast-paced action storyline, where our quick-witted hero has to think on their feet. David Roberts’ masterful illustrations are the perfect complement to the narrative, with his bears exuding various looks from menacing to curious and a bit bemused, while an audience of squirrels act as cheeky observers throughout.

Some of the more menacing scenes might be a little scary for a younger audience – the bear talons and teeth are rather fearsome, especially when they’re hungry – so this will appeal most to children who enjoy having their hearts racing.

It’s also wise to remember the Golden Rule of Bearspotting: “Real bears aren’t this friendly, you should only EVER snuggle up to the stuffed kind.”

And by the looks of the ravaged backpack in the sign-off image, it’s advice to be ignored at your peril!

*** WANT MORE BEAR STORIES *** Check out our reviews for some of our favourites: Winnie-the-Pooh Winter Collection, A Letter for Bear and Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph. You can also find lots more fascinating bear facts in B is for Bear.

Fun fact Black bears and Grizzlies are numerous in Canada, particularly in British Columbia and on Vancouver Island, with an estimated 450,000 bears. There’s a good chance of bear spotting in the Great White North: licence plates in the Canadian Northwest Territories are shaped like polar bears.

Did you know? The Spirit, or Kermode, bear is a sub-species of the Black Bear found only in British Columbia, Canada. The unique thing about this bear is that about 1 out of every 10 Kermode bears is pure white. These rare white bears are called Spirit Bears. According to legend from the First Nations people (indigenous American Indian community in Canada), the Spirit Bear was made pure white, by the creator, to remind people of the Ice Age when the earth was covered in snow and ice.

*** WOOED BY THIS GORGEOUS ILLUSTRATIVE STYLE? *** Check out our reviews of some of our favourite David Roberts books: Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau and Rosie Revere, Engineer (both with text by Andrea Beaty) and The Prince and the Porker (by Peter Bentley).

Author notes Michelle Robinson is a big fan of chocolate and cake but when she’s not indulging in these tempting treats, she’s busy writing successful children’s books. Her collaboration with the talented illustrator Jim Field led to their picture book There’s A Lion In My Cornflakes winning the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award in 2014. Michelle lives in Frome, Somerset with her husband and their two children.

Illustrator notes David Roberts is an award-winning artist who has illustrated works by authors such as Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Ardagh and Chris Priestley. Born in Liverpool, he now lives and works in London. He won the Nestle Children’s Prize Gold Award for his line drawings in Mouse Noses on Toast (Faber). His books with Julia Donaldson include the best-selling Tyrannasaurus Drip, Jack and the Flum-Flum Tree, The Troll and The Flying Bath. He also illustrated two books by Andrea Beaty: Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau and Rosie Revere, Engineer.