cover image Big Black Bear

Big Black Bear

Wong Herbert Yee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66359-2

With this crafty tale of a bear's bad manners, Yee makes a dramatic departure from the orderly composition and restrained text of his excellent debut, Eek! There's a Mouse in the House. The plot remains similar: Big Black Bear, not a mouse, becomes an unwelcome guest in Little Girl's home. Big Black Bear (who comes ``Shuffling along on four furry feet / To a Brown Brick House on Sycamore Street'') walks in without wiping his paws, takes food before it's offered and doesn't cover his snout when he sneezes. He even threatens to eat his host. Luckily for Little Girl, the big bully has a much bigger mother with strong feelings about etiquette. The surprising twist and lively rhyming couplets enhance Yee's lesson about politeness and generosity, and opaque fields of color and whimsically clumsy figures embolden his illustrations. A successfully navigated directional switch. Ages 1-4. (Sept.)