cover image Bearnard’s Book

Bearnard’s Book

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Misa Saburi. Holt/Godwin, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62779-757-3

In this allusive tale, a bear called Bearnard receives a special invitation from the Queen of Storybook Land: “YOU have been specially selected to be in a book!” Bearnard is initially thrilled, but his excitement melts as he considers existing ursine texts in order to “do a great job” with his own. Anxious that, like bears in other stories, he may need to float (“I’m afraid of floating”), make messes (“Messes make me nervous”), or have his porridge absconded with (“I am very afraid of someone eating my porridge!”), Bearnard undergoes the three ordeals in preparation. When facing his fears gives him a nightmare, his insightful friend, the avian Gertie, sees her pal as he truly is: willing and brave. Readers will delight in spotting the classic bears that Bearnard studies rendered in books throughout the scenes. Saburi’s illustrations, sweet rounded figures in spring tones, soften Bearnard’s panic, gentling his worry-riddled journey to discover that, in stories as in life, “All you need to do is be yourself.” Ages 4–8. [em](Feb.) [/em]