Bear and Bee

Sergio Ruzzier, Author, Sergio Ruzzier, Illustrator
Sergio Ruzzier. Disney-Hyperion, $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4231-5957-5
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Bear has never seen a bee, but he doesn’t like them and has no doubt they don’t play well with others. “Bees are terrible monsters!” Bear says. “They are big, and they have large teeth, and they have sharp claws, and they never share their honey!” Luckily, Bee, who is standing right in front of Bear as he unfurls this lurid fantasy, seizes this as a teachable moment, and points out that Bear actually has many of the qualities that he ascribes to bees. After some momentary confusion (“Poor me! I’m a Bee!” wails Bear, flinging himself to the ground in despair), the two become honey-sharing buddies. Ruzzier’s (Tweak Tweak) cartooned pen-and-ink drawings are a bit underwhelming; the relatively minimal backgrounds only emphasize the weak characterizations (the characters’ facial expressions are tepid, and putting Bee in high top sneakers is no substitute for giving him a personality). But Ruzzier has a solid sense of comic timing and proffers his lesson on the folly of prejudice with an admirably light touch. Ages 2–5. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
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