cover image The Tangerine Bear

The Tangerine Bear

Betty Paraskevas. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205146-2

Mother-and-son Paraskevas (Junior Kroll) turn from verse to prose for this poignant story about a teddy bear who wishes for someone to take him home--and discovers he's already there. Right from the title page spread, children can see something different about this little bear, plunked onto a conveyer belt with his 49 brothers. And one day the bear sees it for himself: ""My mouth is upside down."" He winds up in the window of kindly Mr. Winkle's secondhand store, where his brown fur turns tangerine. The text evokes another era, when time seemed bountiful: ""Another sun would climb the side of the sky--except when it rained, of course--and the world turned around and the years went by."" Deep rust, periwinkle blue and butterscotch yellow paint an antique world in horizontal spreads and panel vignettes. In the climactic spread, the perspective shifts from the inside out; the toys become charcoal silhouettes as a stranger wearing a red striped scarf peers into a vast window, his monocle trained on the Tangerine Bear. At last, this stranger wants to take him home, but Mr. Winkle turns him down, saying, ""These fellows are the only family I have."" Words and pictures may harken back to the simple joys of bygone days, but the Paraskevases' timeless tale affirms that friendship and home are still treasures today. Ages 2-up. (Oct.) FYI: A plush Tangerine Bear, complete with cloud pillow, is also available from the publisher.