cover image Brave Little Bear

Brave Little Bear

Steve Small. S&S/Wiseman, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-6659-5110-4

Arlo the cub loves the familiarity and snugness of the family den. “He liked how there was not quite enough room,” writes Small (Wellington’s Big Day Out), showing Arlo and his sister Eva enveloped in a wall-to-wall parental bear hug. Arlo is also wary of “new things” and, now that winter’s over, he faces a big one: migrating to Spring Valley with his mother and sister. Each step of the journey reminds Arlo that Eva is braver—she’s “first up that tree. First down that steep hill. And first in the water.” Then a massive snowstorm blows in, depicted in a series of striking spreads that mingle splatters of white flakes with subtle variegations in the bears’ fur. Arlo senses that Eva isn’t with them, his tiny, alert face looking back as their mother trudges forward. Without hesitation, Arlo leaves his mom, finds Eva using the sounds of her cries, and guides her back. “Being brave when you feel afraid... is the very bravest brave of all,” says the relieved mama bear—a touching summation of a crisply rendered argument that everyone is capable of summoning forth courage. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)