cover image Bear Came Along

Bear Came Along

Richard T. Morris, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-46447-5

What begins as a solo log ride down a river for Bear turns into a group adventure as new forest animals join the pileup hurtling through the water. Each has a different approach to the wild ride: the turtles worry about what could go wrong, while the raccoons delight in the “twists and turns.” All are surprised, though, when they realize where they’re headed: a waterfall, which, after a dramatic plunge, lands them in a calm, communal pool. Text by Morris (Fear the Bunny) bounces along with appealing repetition and rhythm, but it’s cleverly designed illustrations by Pham (Stop That Yawn!) that make this offering a standout choice for reading aloud. Varying perspectives amplify both the drama and the humor, particularly in wordless scenes that move from the vertiginous animals’-eye-view to their comically shocked faces to an aerial image that emphasizes how far the drop will be. And the forest’s gradual color shifts, from muted grays to the brilliant hues in the final scene, echo the story’s underlying message: connecting with others makes life richer, more vibrant, and a lot more fun. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Literary Agency. [em](June) [/em]