Although Sharon has illustrated a lot of brilliant books for other authors, this is the very first book she’s both written and illustrated. Make sure you read Sharon’s piece about the ideas & inspirations behind her story.
‘Suzy’s family has moved house and everyone is just TOO BUSY to play with her. Eager for someone to play with, Suzy puts up a ‘Friend Wanted’ advert. When Bear shows up he seems perfect for the job . . . Until he refuses to wear shoes. Can Suzy and Bear still be best friends if Suzy loves shoes but Bear ABSOLUTELY won’t wear them?’
This book is for any child who has ever felt lonely and anyone who has ever had the pleasure/ misfortune of being bossed about by a small person!
Although Suzy is lonely because everyone is busy unpacking things in her new house, I think that plenty of other children are currently lonely for many reasons – not having seen family or friends outside of their immediate household for weeks on end, having parents who are trying to work from home and homeschool at the same time so can’t just drop everything to play for five minutes (even though they’d like to!)
I love that Suzy took action to solve her own problem by advertising for a friends (surely a good example to set) but I was more pleased that she head learnt to compromise and be more flexible by the end of the story. How many opportunities have you ever missed out on because you weren’t prepared to be flexible?
The joyous illustrations are packed with humour and new details to discover each time, making this a story to enjoy over and over with anyone aged 3+
Bears Don’t Wear Shoes – Some thoughts from Sharon Davey.
Most of us have heard of the old adage no matter how big you are, if a little kid hands you a toy phone …you answer it.
It was this thought that was running through my mind as I began to write Bears Don’t Wear Shoes. In fact, I sketched a bemused bear being interviewed by a tiny girl first. What’s funnier than the confidence of little people?
Observing kids and looking for story ideas has to be one of the best parts of my job as a children’s book illustrator and now author with my first book Bears Don’t Wears Shoes for New Frontier Publishing.
After ‘cats being cute’ things, most of my scrolling content is strange things people have done in their childhood and it’s funny stuff. Kids don’t have a filter or tact or awkwardness, and it’s that quality I was hoping to capture with my main character Suzy. Writing strong girl characters means they solve their own problems and direct the action. Suzy is a powerhouse of creativity and negotiation who marches a bear into the house for the afternoon. She interviews him for the position of ‘new friend’, quizzes him on his skills as biscuit eater and painting buddy and it’s only when he is challenged with tiny shoes that he finds his voice. Suzy has to learn being strong doesn’t mean bulldozing someone’s feelings and accepting them for their differences is just as important to friendship.
Writing for kids today we should celebrate their skills in getting their own way whilst trying to steer them to hear other people’s point of view.
Will my book stop a pushy little person from telling YOU what to do? Probably not, but they might not force YOU to wear tiny shoes whilst they do it!
Thanks you, Sharon – some wise words about how to make friends and influence people!
*Many thanks to New Frontier Publishing for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*