BEARS don’t get a very good “rep” in children’s books. And by that, I mean, their representation is not too true to life, their reputation a little too fluffy: too often portrayed as closer to animated soft toys than the half-tonne omnivores they are. So it’s good in A Beginner’s Guide To Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and David Roberts (Bloomsbury, £12.99) to get a book that reminds us of the realities, the actual dangers of going on a real life bear hunt. For instance, that “Black bears are dangerous and black. Brown bears are dangerous and brown.” Or that: “With a brown bear it’s best to play dead. Although to a black bear that’s an invitation to dinner.” In this visually enchanting book, a small child hero, who sets out with rucksack of equipment (including pepper spray) almost twice his size, finds himself on a serious bear hunt: one that is terrifying and extraordinarily funny. Illustrator David Roberts is a master at combining the scary with the comic and surreal. These are bears you not only want to spot, but stare at: transfixed by their crazed white eyes and their scratchy claws.

Slightly less perilous than bear-spotting, perhaps, should be gold-spotting, which is the mission that Anna and her crocodile-friend go on in the delightful How To Find Gold by Viviane Schwartz (Walker, £11.99). Only it’s not. As Crocodile points out, it is “dangerous and difficult”, involving sea monsters, a storm, a mountain and a terrifying hole – none of which seems, in this small-child-conquers-big-world adventure, to put off the gritty Anna. Part of the charm of this delightful book is the dauntless way she faces all obstacles. When crocodile points out a terrifying scene where the sea is boiling and the clouds are like a tower and fish are in the air, she says simply and enthusiastically: “A great storm! There will be gold!”

However, it’s not all big adventure in the world of picture books. Most recent gems are learning about relationships tales. For instance Daisy Hirst’s Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do! (Walker, £11.99) is an empathy and understanding-building picture book that every family book shelf should have, since it relates to a scenario that almost every children has found him or herself in. Either they are an Alphonse, the monster in this story, drawing all over other people’s favourite things and eating their books, and not really getting that they shouldn’t do it, or they are his sibling, Natalie, upset and heartbroken at her creation or possessions being destroyed. An uproarious, colourful exploration of what is not OK to do, by the creator of the fabulous The Girl With The Parrot On Her head.

When it comes to understanding, perhaps we can gain a little more of that from Isaac And His Amazing Asperger Superpowers by Melanie Walsh (Walker, £11.99), a book which gently explains Asperger’s syndrome to young children. It’s about Isaac, a boy whose father tells him that actually he has lots of superpowers: a brain packed with facts and so much energy he can’t stay still. “My superhero brain is fantastic and remembers loads of things,” says Isaac. “I love to tell people interesting facts but sometimes they just walk away.” Full of comfort and wisdom – just like Walsh’s Goodbye Grandma, which she wrote to help young children suffering bereavement.

Meanwhile, Alphonse the book-eating monster is not someone the central character of the wonderful Are You Sitting Comfortably? by Leigh Hodgkinson (Bloomsbury, £11.99) would enjoy having around. After all this boy’s main mission is to find the perfect place to curl up and read a book. But it’s such a struggle, particularly when there buzzing bees, itchy surfaces, hooting owls and other distractions around.

Possibly that’s what Bear is looking for too in I Love You Already, by Jory John and Benji Davies (Harper Collins, £12.99) Fans of the vivid and characterful Goodnight Already, will be glad to see Bear and Duck back for another journey of irritation and affection. It’s morning this time, and bear wants a day to himself but duck is full of his usual plans and enthusiasms and only wants to play. He’s so bursting with energy he keeps running through the same suggestions over and over again. But, of course, as the title already suggests, Bear loves duck. Already.