cover image Bear Wants to Sing

Bear Wants to Sing

Cary Fagan, illus. by Dena Seiferling. Tundra, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6803-6

When a young tricyclist loses their cargo, musical instruments bounce into the grass unnoticed. Strumming a newfound ukulele, Bear requests an audience, to which a long-tailed mouse gladly agrees. But before Bear can begin, a crow alights and, with a newly grasped tambourine, sings first. This routine continues as Bear is cut off in turn by a snake, a tortoise, and a fox before finally getting the chance in a song well worth waiting for. But a tepid response results in Bear trudging off to lick his wounds—with the ever-supportive Mouse close behind. Fagan presents rich, dialogue-heavy text, infused with lilting rhyme schemes, onomatopoeia, and a humor that builds throughout. (Bear’s song, in particular, will draw laughs.) Seiferling’s dreamy graphite, digitally colored illustrations feature expressive anthropomorphic critters against intricately detailed landscapes. This tender tale of creativity, manners, and nurturing friendship by the creators of King Mouse has all the makings of a contemporary classic. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)