Big Bear Hug: Book Review

I’m so happy to have discovered this book, Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland. It’s one of the most charming books I’ve read in a while.

Title: Big Bear Hug
Author & Illustrator: Nicholas Oldland
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2009
Genre: Juvenile Fiction (Ages 3 to 9)
Theme/Topics: Bears, Environment, Conflict Resolution
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


There once was a bear so filled with love and happiness that whenever he roamed the forest and came across another living thing, he would give it a hug. Everywhere he wandered, the bear shared his love hug by hug.


(from Quill & Quire, This first picture book by artist and filmmaker Nicholas Oldland is a warm-hearted fable for the very young. Issues of conservation, confrontation, and love for all living things are spun together in the humorous and charming story of a bear who loves to hug everything — even creatures that other bears might be inclined to eat or attack. When this affectionate, tree-loving bear encounters a man with an axe looking to cut down one of the oldest, tallest, and most beautiful trees in the forest, the bear’s mood changes, but he quickly realizes that non-violent action may be just as effective as angry confrontation.

Why I Like This Book:

Actually, I LOVE this book! Being a vegetarian and quiet environmentalist, its non-violent, loving approach to a sadly common problem (cutting down our forests) immediately appealed to me. The illustrations are simply done in soft greens, blues, greys and browns, which gives a feeling of peacefulness to the book. The language is also simple, but charming and to the point. As one Amazon reviewer commented, “This book is adorable and has such a perfect message, especially for a budding young Buddhist – love not war.” 

Classroom Connections:

1.Listen to the book on YouTube.

2. EEK (Environmental Education for Kids) has a ton of great links. They’re not necessarily bear or tree specific, but they have lots of experiments, stories, videos, and arts and crafts activities all related to the environment.

3. We made some brown bear art that you might like to try.

4. Hug a tree! Have you ever tried it? Apparently it  increases levels of hormone oxytocin — the feel-good hormone. During COVID year the Iclandic Forest Service promoted tree hugging as a way of feeling better and less socially isolated.

5. There are SO many wonderful benefits to be had hanging out in a forest or living near trees. Check out this article from Wild Tree Adventures to read about all the healthy perks.


Click here to see more Perfect Picture Books.

Sending big bear hugs your way …. and hoping your weekend is wonderful!


36 thoughts on “Big Bear Hug: Book Review”

  1. Okay, the cover really got me! But, as I read on and discovered the message was about conflict resolution, it really peaked my interest. Such a great story for kids. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh my goodness – I haven't \”dropped by\” in a while, and I must have missed your new design. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new header!!! BEAUTIFUL!!! Wait until you see our new art project (hopefully posting pics next Friday) – there's something familiar about that tree … JenRunde's Room

  3. Even without the awesome illustrations, the message captures my attention and respect. Young children will LOVE this…I will definitely get a copy and add it to my reading list for my school programs. So important to expose little ones to the imnportance of conservation and preservation of the environment.Love your resources and activities…they are fantastic!!! Thank you so much for bringing this to the PPBF list. 🙂


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