THE QUEEN, THE BEAR AND THE BUMBLEBEE

Dini Petty, Author, Rose Cowles, Illustrator THE QUEEN, THE BEAR AND THE BUMBLEBEE

Despite a bumblebee protagonist, there's little to buzz about in this didactic picture book by Canadian television personality Petty. The three eponymous characters abruptly decide to "sail through the air/ to the magical land of Who-Knows-Where" in the bear's red ship. When they land on a distant star, the Prince of Night presents the trio with a wish-granting crown. The queen asks for a pair of wings and the bear wants to take the form of a man so he can wear clothes instead of hair, which is "always just there" ("I want to wear shirts, hats, tails, and pants,/ and change every time I go out to a dance").The bumblebee, however, ignores his friends' suggestions to alter his look and decides to be content with what he's got—a move that ultimately saves them all from danger. Unfortunately, the "be yourself" message is buried in the sometimes forced rhymes and rushed story. And it is not clear that the bumblebee resists change out of strong self-esteem (considering his size and shape, he says, "I know if I changed any one of those things,/ then someone would say, 'I don't like your wings' "). Whimsical perspectives and crisp watercolors go far in redeeming Cowles's (Gilbert de la Frogponde) lumpy, often misshapen characters. Even so, the illustrations do little to enliven the proceedings. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)

FYI: The audio version of this story was reviewed in our March 12 issue. Fiction

Reviewed on: 04/02/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Compact Disc - 978-5-556-02233-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-894502-18-4
Hardcover - 29 pages - 978-1-55285-151-7
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