cover image Country Bear's Good Neighbor

Country Bear's Good Neighbor

Larry Dane Brimner. Orchard Books (NY), $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05708-7

One by one, Country Bear borrows a number of ingredients from the little girl who lives next door: first apples, then sugar, an egg, and so on. Finally, the girl loses patience and proclaims ``absolutely not!'' before he even makes clear his request. Happily, this time he has come not to borrow but to share the cake concocted from her offerings. Soft, light-infused pictures fill out the story, which will seem mild to those who guess early on that the bear will eventually borrow every ingredient. By using different background scenery for every act of lending, Councell forms a contrast to the girl's repeated pronouncements on her neighborliness (``You are lucky I am a good neighbor''), but her facial expressions appear somewhat static. Still, for both author and artist, this is a sweet debut, which includes a recipe for ``Country Bear's Good Neighbor Cake.'' Ages 3-6. (April)