The Very Cranky Bear

Nick Bland. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-61269-2
Using a singsong rhyme scheme and a comically bumbling animal cast, Bland (The Runaway Hug) playfully introduces the concepts of consideration and respect in a story first published in Australia in 2008. Four four-footed pals think they have found the perfect place to play “in the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a cold and rainy day” when they wander into a dry cave. But just when their card game gets going, the crew is confronted by the cave’s original inhabitant—a very cranky bear who’s been roused from his sleep by their arrival. Undeterred, Zebra, Moose, and Lion devise a scheme (“ ‘Wait a minute,’ said Zebra,/ as she scratched her furry chin./ ‘Maybe if we cheered him up,/ he’d let us come back in’ ”), which only makes things worse. In the end, it’s “plain” and quiet Sheep who comes up with a selfless gesture that soothes Bear and wins the day. Bland’s cartoonishly anthropomorphic critters (the female characters sport eyelashes and rosy cheeks) form a goofy, amiable group well-suited to the silly proceedings. Ages 3–5. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/05/2014
Release date: 07/29/2014
Paperback - 22 pages - 978-0-340-98943-2
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