Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

A Bear in War

Innes, Stephanie (Author)
Endrulat, Harry (Author)
Deines, Brian (Illustrator)
Pajama Press 2012. 40 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9781927485125 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 940.3
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, characterization, conflict, dialogue, layout, multimodal, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Teddy has a comfortable life in East Farnham, Québec. He belongs to Aileen, who takes him everywhere and tells him secrets like, “I had a disease called polio. That’s why I wear a brace on my leg.” They play together and Teddy learns about chores on the farm, like collecting eggs and milking cows. But as World War I efforts intensify, Daddy decides to go and help the British. He writes home that he is cold and tired, and that he misses them terribly, so Aileen decides to send Teddy to her father in the trenches.

This true story is brought to life by the vivid oil colour illustrations that show the warmth of the family home, as well as the bleakness of the trenches. In one scene the father piggybacks his daughter up the stairs with great tenderness on his face, a halo of orange surrounding them. In contrast, one page shows a soldier’s helmet abandoned in the mud and two medics in the distance carrying a stretcher. The hues are yellow, brown and grey, including the sky.

Told from Teddy’s perspective, the story allows for an intimate account of both home life and life on the front lines, while keeping the language simple and palatable for children: “Sometimes we got hurt when a bomb exploded nearby. Sharp things would hit us.” Actual documents and letters accompany this story, reminding the reader that it is based on real people. At the end, Teddy says, “My home now is a glass case inside the Canadian War Museum,” and he invites the reader to visit him there.

  •  

    Discuss what causes war. Do you know anything about any particular war? What about World War I?

  •  Teddy experiences extraordinary things. Write a series of journal entries over a period of time when he is living through the tragedies of war.
  •  

    Keeping in mind that your father has been gone for two and a half years and is in very difficult conditions, write a letter to him as Aileen would have. You could share your news, fears, concerns or questions.

  •  

    Research the criteria and intention behind the military Medal of ​Bravery and other Canadian medals. Why do countries give medals to their soldiers?

  •  

    The Canadian War Museum’s website has further information on Teddy and other war stories. Explore the site and make a mind map of your new learning. Share your findings with your classmates.

  •  

    Discuss what you know about war. What causes it?

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Do you think the story is fiction or non-fiction? What are artifacts? Why do they give the story more credibility?

  •  After the story is read aloud, create a timeline of the story. According to the scale you used for your timeline, where would today be?
  •  

    Research the criteria and intention behind the military Medal of ​Bravery and other Canadian medals. Why do countries give medals to their soldiers?

  •  

    What role did Canada play in the First World War? Do some research and share your findings in a group of two or three. What piece of information from your research stands out for you? Share and discuss this point in your group.

  •  

    As you read, pay careful attention to the images. On each page, write one sentence that best encapsulates the illustration. Use a sentence from the text or compose one of your own.

  •  

    In teams, divide the book up into four relatively equal parts. Have each teammate select one part and rewrite it with Lawrence Rogers as the narrator.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Social Sciences