Reading, writing, listening, helping, thanking: Bear and his animal friends can inspire young readers in family, school, or...

BEAR'S BOOK

Bear is a great reader, but when he wants to write his own book, he suffers from a common malady: writer’s block.

He tries to find ideas by engaging in his favorite activities. First he tries to find a tree he can scratch his back on, but Mouse asks him for help with his dancing. Then he goes for a swim in the river—but there, he’s enlisted to help tow Rabbit’s boat back to the riverbank. Finally, he tries climbing a tall tree, but a baby owl needs rescuing. Frustrated, he returns to his house for lunch. Sitting at his little table with its blue gingham tablecloth, he tries again to write a story like his favorites, which have “exciting beginnings, dramatic middles, and happy-ever-after endings.” The ideas start to percolate. Bear writes and draws his own wonderful story to share when his good friends come around with a gift to thank him for his assistance. Presented as a gatefold, with antiqued paper and scrollwork borders, Bear’s opus is a special pirate story starring all the animals that Bear met that morning. The theme of friendship is matched by the warm, cozy feeling of the mixed-media illustrations. Bear’s helpfulness and his budding creativity make him a positive role model.

Reading, writing, listening, helping, thanking: Bear and his animal friends can inspire young readers in family, school, or library settings. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0571-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one.

WAY PAST WORRIED

Brock may be dressed like a superhero, but he sure doesn’t feel like one, as social anxieties threaten to rain on his fun    .

Juan’s superhero-themed birthday party is about to start, but Brock is feeling trepidatious about attending without his brother as his trusty sidekick. His costume does not fit quite right, and he is already running late, and soon Brock is “way past worried.” When he arrives at the party he takes some deep breaths but is still afraid to jump in and so hides behind a tree. Hiding in the same tree is the similarly nervous Nelly, who’s new to the neighborhood. Through the simple act of sharing their anxieties, the children find themselves ready to face their fears. This true-to-life depiction of social anxiety is simply but effectively rendered. While both Nelly and Brock try taking deep breathes to calm their anxieties without success, it is the act of sharing their worries in a safe space with someone who understands that ultimately brings relief. With similar themes, Brock’s tale would make a lovely companion for Tom Percival’s Ruby Finds a Worry (2019) on social-emotional–development bookshelves. Brock is depicted with black hair and tan skin, Nelly presents White, and peers at the party appear fairly diverse.

Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8686-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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