cover image Bear Out There

Bear Out There

Jacob Grant. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-68119-745-6

Grant (Bear’s Scare) reunites curmudgeonly Bear and his sweet roommate, Spider, in this pleasant forest adventure. Outdoors-loving Spider, sporting a button cap, is eager to fly his new handmade kite. Bear, a homebody, prefers to stay inside to sip tea and clean (noticeably leaving Spider’s webs intact). “But plans have a way of changing,” and after Spider’s kite blows away, Bear agrees to help retrieve it, though not without grumbling about “yucky weeds” and “noisy twitter” out of doors. “Who would ever want to see such an unpleasant forest?” he asks amid an idyllic scene of blooms, waterfalls, and rose-colored butterflies. The story takes a turn when thick lines of slanting rain begin to justify Bear’s complaints, dampening Spider’s mood. Bear plans to head home, but after seeing his down-spirited friend perched on a rock, he relents, and the two continue their quest, camaraderie buoying their spirits as they search. Grant fans will recognize his affable charcoal, crayon, and ink animal portrayals; a jewel-toned palette gives the book an inviting feel. The story resonates with timely themes of tolerance, friendship, and persistence in the face of tealessness. Ages 3–6. [em](June) [/em]