The Bear Under the Stairs: 9

Helen Cooper, Author
Helen Cooper, Author Dial Books $12.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1279-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 32 pages - 978-0-14-056094-7
Hardcover - 978-0-385-25345-1
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-552-55845-7
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-385-40210-1
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-552-52706-4
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Anyone who's ever suffered an irrational fear will sympathize heartily with William, who's convinced that a grizzly bear lurks in the closet beneath the stairs. His apprehension blossoms to the point where he begins saving morsels from meals and tossing them quickly into the closet (``wham, bang, thump!'') as tokens of appeasement. Finally, his mother sniffs out the problem (literally), and tackles it head-on, sending William's fear packing (and the bear as well--a tongue-in-cheek final illustration shows the grizzly parachuting into new territory, carpetbag in hand). Cooper's sunny approach to a common childhood anxiety is bolstered by deft use of light and shadow in her soft-focus watercolor and pencil art, which visually reinforces the elusive, imaginary nature of William's concern. Ages 3-7. (June)
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