The Bear Must Go On

Dev Petty, illus. by Brandon Todd. Philomel, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-984-83747-9
When Rabbit suggests they “put on a show,” two of his woodland pals—Squirrel and Other Squirrel—erupt with enthusiasm, but Bear, pencil in paw, announces that he’s too shy to perform on stage, and instead will be “the note taker.” The thespian hopefuls shout out items they need, ordering Bear to write down the humorously detailed list: hats with straps for the birds (“Without straps their hats will fall off and the show will be ruined”) and shiny tickets (“Write SHINY in big letters, Bear!... No one will come if the tickets are dull”). Bear diligently records and whimsically illustrates their requests as he “sang a sweet song, which made him smile,” but the rodents forget a major component while bossing Bear about. Making his picture book debut, Todd captures the feverish preparations and the props’ funny flourishes in animated digital art, while type of various sizes and colors amplifies the energy. Petty (I Don’t Want to Be a Frog) elevates Bear to hero status in the rewarding finale to her story, which applauds facing one’s fears, being a good friend, and keeping an eye on the big picture. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/05/2019
Release date: 02/11/2020
Genre: Children's
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