cover image There's a Bear in the Bath!

There's a Bear in the Bath!

Nanette Newman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-285512-3

Having a cheerful, talkative bear in one's home may seem an irresistible novelty to teddy owners. However, if the bear in question were the pompous and pushy brown star of this book (by the author and illustrator of Spider the Horrible Cat ), most hosts would probably tell him to take a hike. Liza, the diminutive blond girl whom this boorish bear calls on, is far too polite to do that. Liza does ask the bear why he is visiting, but the response isn't illuminating: ``Why not?'' Then, when the bear lauds his own intelligence and Liza suggests that he's ``boasting,'' he sniffs, ``Boasting is very unattractive in a child, but boasting when you're a bear is quite acceptable.'' Although such remarks prove more insufferable than clever, Foreman's illustrations dispel some of the negativity by depicting Liza as puzzled but amused. His overwhelmingly golden palette, on the other hand, does not hold much interest. Perhaps an etiquette lesson is intended--but there's nothing much to be emulated in Liza's helplessness against and acquiescence to the bear's invasion of her privacy. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)