cover image There Are No Bears in This Bakery

There Are No Bears in This Bakery

Julia Sarcone-Roach. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55665-4

Sarcone-Roach (The Bear Ate Your Sandwich) returns to snacking bears in this sly comic mystery that stars an orange cat named Muffin. Narrator Muffin doesn’t guard Little Bear Bakery, exactly. She does regularly investigate, however, identifying the noises of animals roaming nearby (“Clang crash crunch crunch is the raccoons in the dumpster”). One night, hearing a new sound (“Grrrrrrrrrrr”), she slips into the bakery to check things out. Little Bear Bakery has its own little bear intruder. Sarcone-Roach paints Muffin’s tail in feline alarm mode, three times its normal size, and the cat’s powers of observation shine: “Up close, the bear smelled like old socks, cinnamon, and adventure.” Soon another, even larger bear appears behind her (“I had a tail. I mean, my tail had a tail”). Freely stroked Prussian blue and black nighttime scenes play up the kitty-cat noir theme with ominous shadows and stray beams of light. Moments of exaggerated animal shock deliver laughs, and the bakery havoc that follows is all that young fans of sugary chaos might hope for. Far from being threatened, the lithe detective experiences a bear hug and gets to oversee a gluttonous night shift before slinking off for a nap. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]