cover image Bear with Me

Bear with Me

Kerascoët. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-30767-0

In this mostly wordless tale, delicately drafted ink-and-watercolor vignettes alternate with full spreads as married team Kerascoët (I Walk with Vanessa) portray the tight bond between a child and a stuffed bear given to them as an infant. In early pages, the toddler, shown with pale skin and red hair, keeps the bear company in an armchair, dances with it, and drags it lovingly through the garden, its bright blue necktie becoming the worse for wear. Now the bear needs a trip through the washing machine—the child’s tearful yowl and the hand-lettered words “Bear with me!” convey the pain of separation. Time passes. On the first day of school, the child tries stuffing the bear into their schoolbag and shirt, but a parent’s waggling finger delivers the message: the bear stays home. Kerascoët shows the protagonist finding coping strategies at school : discovering a bear costume in the racially diverse classroom’s dress-up box, and painting a portrait of the beloved stuffy before experiencing a joyous reunion. Young readers may need some coaching to appreciate the book’s titular pun, but the creators clearly trace a developmental journey through a beloved relationship, and their visual storytelling creates openings for conversations about separation and growth. Ages 3–7. (June)