Book Review - 'The Blanket Bears' by Samuel Langley-Swain
The Blanket Bears is an adorable children’s picture book written by an adoptive dad which tells the story of two little bears and their foster-adopt journey.
The story begins with character Tilly the fox (a social worker) finding the bears scared and alone outside of a cold and empty house on a snowy winter’s day. Tilly cuddles the little bears up in her coat and calls for help; she takes the little bears to their ‘foster care bears’, Bailey and Niko, to look after them for a while.
At first, the bears feel anxious and worried, so Bailey and Niko make a special surprise for the bears to help them feel safe and warm - blanket coats! Once the bears put on their new coats, they start to feel safe and more at ease, and begin to build a bond with Bailey and Niko. However, the bears know that Bailey and Niko are not their ‘forever’ family, and the thought of finding a forever family feels big and scary to the little bears.
Eventually, Tilly finds a forever family for the bears and shows them a beautiful book all about the family with pictures of them and the bears’ new home. Tilly tells the bears that soon their forever family will be coming to visit them so that they can all get to know each other.
The story finishes with the little bears slowly moving into their new home with their parents as a forever family. The bears settle in and gradually get used to living happily, and the book ends with a sweet illustration of the four of them sharing a family hug.
The Blanket Bears
Tilly - Social Worker
Bailey & Niko - Foster Carers
Parents (forever family)
What we like about this book is how it discusses the foster-adopt process in a gentle and sensitive manner while also remaining honest and reflective of a real-life adoption journey.
We believe this book would be extremely beneficial for young children wherever they are in their foster-adopt journey and would give them guidance and reassurance through that journey; it provides them with something relatable and reflective of what they are going through/have been through. The book also opens up the opportunity for children to ask further questions to their foster carers/adoptive parents and create conversations which they otherwise might not have known how to approach. Representation is absolutely vital and this book provides children in foster and adoptive families with the representation, validation and reassurance that they deserve.
The illustrations by Ashlee Spink are just gorgeous and we’re a big fan of the characters being gender neutral. There is no use of the term “mum and dad”, just simply “parents”, making the book inclusive and reflective of all families.
We also think that this book would be beneficial to give out to young family and friends of a fostered/adopted child (for example, cousins, classmates etc.) to also help them to understand the concept of adoption and how families can come together in different ways.
Overall, we think 'The Blanket Bears' is a very charming book and is essential for children within (and for children who know someone within) foster and adoptive families.
The Blanket Bears is published by Owlet press and endorsed by Adoption UK.
It is available to purchase here for just £7.99 - overseas shipping is available.
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