cover image Bear Dreams

Bear Dreams

Elisha Cooper, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-087428-5

Bear can't seem to get in the hibernating groove. Worse yet, he believes that all the non-hibernating animals are having more fun. "It's not fair," grouses Bear (such economical sentences typify the narrative). So the cub emerges from his cave and announces to his fellow creatures that he wants some non-stop physical activity. In one of the loveliest spreads, Bear fulfills one wish ("I want to wrestle") by going head-to-head with a huge and somewhat bewildered moose; in the most surreal spread, two glorious horizontal peach-toned panels depict Bear flying through the air with a flock of geese. But when night falls, the animals refuse to keep playing; they need their rest—and, it turns out, Bear does, too. The story feels reminiscent of Cooper's Magic Thinks Big , although Bear is not quite as compelling an anti-hero as Magic, the big feline; the humor takes on a tone more pleading than wry. Still, that overly bright, entertain-me-now gleam in Bear's eye will likely strike a chord with even the most sedentary youngsters. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)