Bear-ly There

Rebekah Raye. Tilbury House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88448-314-4
When a black bear ventures out of the woods and tears apart Charlie's family's storage shed to get to the birdseed inside, Charlie and his parents have to figure out how to get the bear back where he belongs. Both in text and art, Raye (The Very Best Bed) offers a realistic portrayal of the ursine protagonist ("His big claws dug deeper to find a few buried acorns and some tasty plant roots"), though her human characters and some of the other featured animals don't fare as well. While most of the images of the bear are detailed and true-to-life, Charlie and his family look rough and unfinished by comparison, and even the most active scenes have a static quality. The story itself is straightforward (the family eventually drives the bear away by clanging pots and pans and using an air horn); a list of precautions for keeping bears in the woods ("Clean your barbecue grill right after using it") is awkwardly sandwiched in the middle of the story in the form of a poster Charlie creates. Ages 6—10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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