A Bed for Bear

Clive McFarland. Harper, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-223705-7
A bed of one’s own—that’s all Bernard the bear wants, because the cave where his fellow bears will be hibernating is “too noisy, too big, and too crowded.” So Bernard tries out the beds of other forest dwellers, wreaking mild havoc along the way, demolishing Bird’s nest, and nearly doing the same to Rabbit’s hutch. Mouse, who has been trailing Bernard, shows him exactly what he wants: “a bed that is not wet, not windy, extra roomy, with just the right amount of company!” Of course, it’s the bear cave. McFarland’s short text is as literal as it gets, and the arts-and-crafts earnestness of his illustrations, made from digitally enhanced paper and watercolors, ostensibly promises little more than a standard-issue quest. What McFarland has going for him is a sneaky sense of visual wit. Where other creators would have shown Bernard’s victims having conniption fits, Bernard’s cluelessness earns him some very Klassen-y side-eye from the other animals. Once readers glean what’s going on behind all the poker faces and understatement, they’ll be hooked. Ages 4–8. Agency: the Bright Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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