cover image Bear and Chicken

Bear and Chicken

Jannie Ho. Running Press Kids, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7624-6266-7

Ho (If You’re Spooky and You Know It) creates delicious suspense in a story built around a familiar theme: a small creature worrying that it is about to be eaten. After finding Chicken frozen in the snow, Bear carries her into his cozy home and wonders, “How does one defrost a chicken?” He places Chicken in front of a blazing fire, “burrito-wrapped” in a blanket, which does the trick. But when Bear jovially informs Chicken that she has awakened “just in time,” the worried bird wonders, “In time for what?” As Bear boils water in a large pot, “Chicken simmered in suspicion,” imagining herself submerged in soup stock. These sprinklings of culinary jargon and easily misconstrued dialogue give the story its mischievous sense of humor: “Onions, chop. Carrots, chop. Celery, chop chop. ‘Hmmm... what else is missing?’ said Bear.” Ho’s matte artwork has a pleasing simplicity yet imbues both characters with plenty of personality. She closes with a brief note about black bears (a mostly vegetarian species) and a recipe for Bear’s vegetable soup. Ages 4–8. Agent: Mela Bolinao, MB Artists. (Nov.)