cover image A Brave Bear

A Brave Bear

Sean Taylor, illus. by Emily Hughes. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8224-8

“I think a pair of hot bears is probably the hottest thing in the world,” Little Bear’s father says. Little Bear, the story’s narrator, has an idea: he and Dad can cool off in the river. Heady with his father’s approbation, Little Bear decides to further impress him by leaping between the rocks on the trail instead of making the “small jumps” that Dad advises. A fall bruises the cub’s knee and his budding sense of independence, but only briefly; declining Dad’s offer to carry him to the river, “I decided to go on my own,” he tells readers. Taylor’s (Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise) concise narration is resonant with developmental authenticity and psychological insight, with just enough repetition to lend a pleasing lilt; it’s the emotional heart of this story. Hughes (The Little ) brings it home with instantly endearing characters and fine, fluid pencil texturing that has a marvelous plasticity, whether it’s delineating the bears’ shaggy coats, the bark of a tree, or the swirling waters of the river. Ages 2–5. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.)