Bunnybear

Andrea J. Loney, illus. by Carmen Saldaña. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-0938-8
In a story about sticking to what you know to be true, even if it goes against social norms, debut author Loney introduces a bear who feels most like himself when he’s doing the sorts of things that bunnies do: “He loved to bounce through the forest, wiggle his nose, and nibble on strawberries. It made him feel free and light and happy.” Bunnybear’s fellow bears don’t understand him, nor do a warren of bunnies—except for one named Grizzlybun, who declares herself a bear. “I’m burly and loud and I eat whatever I want,” she tells Bunnybear, who responds, “That certainly sounds like a bear to me.” Working in what looks like a combination of painting and digital techniques, newcomer Saldaña creates an appealing cast of wild animals and an equally inviting woodland landscape, and she doesn’t ignore the humorousness of a bear who prefers hopping to stomping or a bunny whose inner ferociousness outstrips her small size. But despite the lighthearted tone, Loney’s story has important things to say about identity and acceptance, and is valuable both as entertainment and a conversation-starter. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jill Corcoran, Jill Corcoran Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2016
Release date: 12/01/2016
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