cover image How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear?

How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear?

Nancy White Carlstrom. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-717276-8

Sure to be a ready favorite, this fourth Jesse Bear picture book has a warm, family-centered charm. A refrain asks Jesse, ``How do you say it today?'' (that is, say ``I love you'' in ways that reflect each month from January to December). Carlstrom's repetitive narrative and easy rhymes bounce merrily along (the text for July, accompanying an ursine Independence Day celebration, reads ``With flags that I wave / As bands pass in parade, / I say it with stars today''). Meanwhile, Degen's detailed, affectionate pen-and-ink and watercolor art, in illuminated borders and in variously sized scenes, depicts Jesse's father and mother clad in party hats and wielding noisemakers on New Year's Eve; Jesse and father serving mother breakfast amid her floral-patterned bed linens; all three bears opening Christmas gifts in a festooned living room; and other timely scenes. His colors and compositions are cheerful throughout. Once again, a winning combination. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)