Because I Had a Teacher

illus. by Natalie Russell. 40p. Compendium. Mar. 2017. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781943200085.
Gr 1–5—A young bear reflects on all of the things he has learned and can do because he had a great teacher. Russell's watercolor and pencil illustrations walk through different academic subjects and outside activities, with one idea per spread, as the little bear tells of each lesson learned. There are some nice artwork touches, like the bear holding a globe balloon and molecules that look like soccer balls. However, some of the lessons are difficult; some are abstract concepts that would be hard for a child as young as the bear appears to be to articulate: "Some of the most important things are said without words" and "some of the hardest things for me to do make me feel proudest."
VERDICT More a celebration of teachers than a story, this would be most enjoyed as a gift for a special teacher or mentor.

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