cover image The Bear in My Family

The Bear in My Family

Maya Tatsukawa. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-55582-7

“I live with a bear,” says the narrator, a boy in a yellow sweater. Said bear, who is big and blue and sleeps in the next room over, is a piece of work: loud, bossy, a food-swiper (“Too slow!” blurts the bear, grabbing some of the boy’s breakfast), and a noogie-giver. The boy’s parents will hear nothing of the bear’s boorishness: “For some reason, my parents think the bear is family.” But when bullies at the park target the boy, having a bear in the family suddenly comes in handy. “ROOAARR!” says the bear, and the bullies scurry away. Maybe the bear is kind of like having... a big sister? Debut author Tatsukawa puts a fresh spin on a familiar story of sibling estrangement and rapprochement, with a precocious, comically plaintive protagonist and naïf digital images that have the look of textured paper. The bear, while made of simple shapes with minimal detail, puts off a totemic sense of authority and a preadolescent insouciance— a powerful combination that any younger sibling should instantly recognize. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]