cover image Something’s Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Something’s Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Jory John, illus. by Erin Kraan. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-31388-3

Jeff, an absentminded bear, has left his house forgetting that he’s wearing a pair of tighty-whities gifted to him by his grandmother. He senses that something isn’t right (“Just be cool, man. Play it cool”), a sneaking suspicion that’s confirmed by the shocked looks of his fellow forest animals. But no one will speak up—to Jeff, that is. The animals have no qualms turning to the reader and exclaiming, “Why is that bear wearing underwear?” It’s a classic nightmare scenario, one that happily turns into a tribute to friendship when the still-clueless Jeff seeks out best buddy Anders, a rabbit, who lays it all out (“Could it be that you left your house wearing underwear?”) and then deftly helps him recover from his mortification. Jeff’s increasingly desperate attempts at nonchalance (“I love nice weather. LOVE it. It’s cool to be warm. Ha ha”) and Anders’s confiding reassurances and quick thinking make all-dialogue text by John (It’s Not My Fault!) a gift for the readaloud set. He’s capably abetted by debut illustrator Kraan, whose textural earth-toned vignettes are gems of comic panic, dismay, and redemption. Ages 3–6. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Mar.) [/em]