By: Sandra Nickel

Illustrated by: Il Sung Na

Published: September 6, 2022

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books


Big Bear is BIG! Nine Feet and eight inches big! After attending the fair, Big Bear came home with a small fish instead of the large teddy bear he hoped to win. What is he supposed to do with a small, orange fish?

Big Bear can only see all the differences between him and Little Fish. They don’t eat the same things, they aren’t the same color, and Little Fish can’t go on walks…or can she?

Despite all the differences between them, Fish was able to convince Bear they had some similarities too. Bear couldn’t imagine keeping Fish, but Fish had other ideas.

I think it is easy for kids (and adults) to find all the things that make us different but in this story of two friends who are clearly very different and really are the most unlikely of friends, they end up finding things that make them similar. Big Bear realizes they both live in the same big world where all of us, including Big Bear, are actually quite small.

The illustrations are delightful, showing both Big Bear’s and Little Fish’s expressions of joy, shock, and wonder. The illustrations fill the pages and the color schemes of blues, browns, and oranges are very soothing eventually culminating in a rainbow of color on the last page.

Don’t miss this sweet story of friendship and appreciating our differences! If your child is struggling with making new friends at school, this might be the book to encourage them to try talking to someone new.

The author has created a variety of resources to go along with the reading of this book. These resources are perfect for storytimes, classroom read-aloud, or home reading activities. Click HERE to check out the resources.

Check out the book trailer for BIG BEAR AND LITTLE FISH:

Sandra Nickel is an award-winning author of picture books. She is honored to be the winner of a Christopher Award, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Crystal Kite Award, a two-time winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for picture books, and a finalist for the Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Younger Readers. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has presented workshops on writing for children and young adults throughout Europe and the United States. When at home in Switzerland, Sandra loves ambling and rambling and eating carrot muffins just as much as Bear and Fish do. To learn more about Sandra, visit

Il Sung Na was born in Seoul, South Korea. In 2001, he moved to London to pursue a BFA in Illustration and Animation at Kingston University, where he discovered a passion for children’s books. He completed his MFA Illustration Practice at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) in 2015. Il Sung has illustrated several books including Wild Peace, My Tree, and ZZZZ: A Book of Sleep. Currently based in Kansas City, Il Sung teaches illustration courses at KCAI (Kansas City Art Institute) and works on new books.

To purchase a copy of BIG BEAR AND LITTLE FISH, click the photo below:

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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