cover image Bears on Chairs

Bears on Chairs

Shirley Parenteau, Author, David Walker, Illustrator , illus. by David Walker. Candlewick $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-3588-6

With five bears and only four chairs, these cuddly, optimistic bruins have a problem. Parenteau's (One Frog Sang ) rhyming text is simple enough for a preschool audience, and the lesson the bears model about sharing, though obvious, will be welcomed by many teachers and parents. Recalling Care Bears in their pastel fuzziness and good cheer, Walker's (Flip, Flap, Fly! ) bears climb on and off the chairs with a toddler's intensity as they master sitting and standing without having to share. But when “Big Brown Bear/ looks for a chair./ There is none there/ for that big bear.” When Big Brown Bear finds he is too big to share a chair with Floppy Bear, his dismay is evident in the acrylic illustrations. After attempts at sharing go awry, all five bears discover that by pushing the chairs together like a bench, they can all sit together. The simple rhymes grow somewhat tedious with repetition, but the heavy-handed message—“Now it's fair!/ The bears all share!”—will be plain to even the most inexperienced reader. Ages 2–6. (Aug.)