cover image Bear in Love

Bear in Love

Daniel Pinkwater, illus. by Will Hillenbrand. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4569-4

Pinkwater’s (Beautiful Yetta) impulsive, happy-go-lucky bear keeps finding carrots on a flat rock outside his cave, left by some anonymous well-wisher. After days of this, the bear places honeycomb on the rock as a lure (“He wanted to see who had left him the nice things”), and pretty soon there’s a full-scale war of random acts of kindness going on. In a nod to Pooh, Pinkwater’s bear sings to himself quite often—“Someone must like me/ Someone is nice/ Very good, yum yum yum/ Someone is nice”—and much attention is paid to the deliciousness of each treat. Hillen-brand’s (Kite Day) cheery mixed-media spreads draw little attention to themselves, and there isn’t a hint of menace or darkness. Only the pacing seems off: by the time the mystery is solved (spoiler: it’s a rabbit) the story is over, although it’s clear that the relationship is just beginning. Yet Pinkwater’s talent for creating loveable characters and his unalloyed sense of goodness make it work. Ages 2–6. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.)