Are Hunting Stories Appropriate for Preschool?

This week in preschool our theme is Bears.  Many weeks I take advantage of our amazing local library so we have plenty of reading material that relates to the theme.

the biggest bearI borrowed “The Biggest Bear” by Lynd Ward.  I noted the Caldecott Medal on the cover.  The illustrations look charming.  However, as you can see on the cover,  the main character Johnny is depicted with a rifle over his shoulder.  By page eight, a man is shown shooting three bears.

As the story progresses, it becomes very engaging.  Johnny goes hunting and discovers a bear cub, which he befriends and takes home as a pet.  I will let you read the rest, but I did think it was really very sweet and charming.  I liked the ending. However, with the gun content and the hunting theme, I decided not to read it to the preschoolers.  Amazon lists the appropriate age range as 4 -8 years.  See it here.

What do you think?  How would you feel about this book being read to your child in preschool?

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