If You Love a Bear

Piers Harper, Author, Piers Harper, Illustrator Candlewick Press (MA) $9.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-0371-7
Simply told through a series of episodes in the day of a boy and a very big bear, this tender, slightly undersize (and affordably priced) book manages to both flatter a child's sense of competence and teach the rewards of thinking about others. ""If you love a bear,"" Harper (Turtle Quest) begins, ""you will know that bears like to be woken up gently."" Loving bears also means understanding their needs (""Bears eat a lot more than children do"") and knowing what's inappropriate for them (wearing clothes); it means sharing in the fun adventures and riding out the occasional bear tantrum: ""A good thing to do is give them a small snack. Being angry makes bears hungry."" Harper's sweet-natured, streamlined tableaux, surrounded by lots of white space, match the primer quality of the narrative. While his characterization of the boy may seem a bit restrained (the child rarely changes expression), the bear in question is both eloquent and cuddly. Ages 2-5. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Paperback - 978-0-590-98779-0
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-7445-6331-3
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