Bear Make Den

Bear Make Den cover JPG

The blurb

Bear has made a wonderful den for himself, but something is missing.

What could it be?

From this talented trio comes a warm, playful story about what truly makes a home.

What the critics are saying

‘Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner tell a simple, funny story about homemaking…Is there anything Bear has overlooked? Well, of course there is, and children ages 2-5 will enjoy shouting out the answer in this rustic read-aloud.’ – The Wall Street Journal

‘Joyner renders Bear in a broad cartoon style that may bring to mind Yogi Bear with a stronger moral character. Bear is a great role model, proving—without preaching—that industriousness, grit, and ingenuity offer manifold rewards.’ – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, US edition

‘A great read-aloud for maker or friendship storytimes. As each item in the den leads to another, kids will enjoy guessing what’s next based on the text and illustrations. Sure to be a popular ­selection.’ – School Library journal (US)

‘I’m always blown away by the deceptive simplicity of a good picture book and this creation is no exception.’ – Buzz Words

‘The best picture books are deceptively simple – they are a perfect marriage between text and illustrations based on a simple premise that has wide application and then hidden depths so that each time the story is read or shared, there is something new to discover. This book meets all those criteria from cover to endpapers.’ – The Bottom Shelf 

‘The story is simple, sweet and heart-warming. My husband and I have yet to tire of this one after many reads … Bear Make Den is sure to be enjoyed for a long time to come.’ – Reading Time

‘A story to melt the hearts of the readers…’ –

‘Vibrantly colored illustrations make kids feel right at home in this fun-to-read ode to friendship.’ – Amazon US.

‘The text, written in clipped language, has echoes of children at play. The retro-style illustrations bring liveliness to the tale. And the friends who join Bear at the end make it all worthwhile in this cheerful book for under eights’ – Books from the Basement blog

‘This delightful picture is written and illustrated by a great team. I am a fan of Andrew Joyner’s illustrations and in this book they are partnered with a simple but fun story. A great read aloud or for a child learning to read.’ – Creative Kids Tales

‘Not since Goldilocks and the Three Bears have I wanted to doss up under the same roof as a bear so much. Bear Make Den is a splendid book to share with toddlers, pre-schoolers, and early primary readers alike.’ – Dimity Powell, Boomerang Blog

Bear Make Den is a gently humorous story told in very few words. Kids (and adults, too) will love the playfulness and even the very young will see the clues as to what is really missing… The underlying message about the importance companionship is a good one… an absolute delight. Sure to please all ages.’ –

‘It is quite simply a picture book to enjoy.’ – Magpies Magazine

‘A warm, playful picture book about what truly makes a home.’ – Readings Monthly

‘Bear is a great role model, proving—without preaching—that industriousness, grit, and ingenuity offer manifold rewards.’ – Womrath Bookshop, USA

What my co-author and life partner, Jane Godwin, says

The text of Bear Make Den is a collaboration between me and another writer, Michael Wagner.  We worked out the story over two holidays – one in Lorne on the coast of Victoria, and one in Sydney.

I had the initial idea of a bear who had a den but nothing to go in it.  We wanted Bear to be someone who was very capable and could make just about anything!  But he doesn’t realise that he’s actually quite lonely, and it’s not until he does the painting on his wall and realises that what he has painted is a whole lot of other bears that he understands that his den needs other bears, as well as all the great things he makes.

I think it’s true that sometimes what we make as art can tell us what we need in our lives.

Once we’d written the story (about 50 times and in about 50 different ways!) we asked our friend Andrew Joyner if he would like to illustrate it.  He read it and then sent us some little sketches of Bear – and we fell in love with the character and the way Andy had drawn him.

Our Bear was born!

I hope you enjoy Bear Make Den.