Letters from Bear

Gauthier David, trans. from the French by Sarah Ardizzone, illus. by Marie Caudry. Eerdmans, $17.99 (46p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5536-7
Bear’s friend Bird has flown south, to an “island in the sun,” and Bear is blue. In this epistolary tale, Bear’s first letter to Bird is plaintive: “Why do you have to migrate every year?” Unable to bear the separation, Bear heads south to find Bird in a string of staccato adventures, writing letters all the way. Gentle, remarkable scenes of surreality drawn by Caudrey can take a moment to scan: volcanoes have human heads that spew smoke; a bird wearing wooden stilts heads to a costume party. (“I made a kingfisher mask out of clay,” Bear writes about his own costume. “It’s almost as if you were here.”) Caught in a battle, Bear hides in a tree stump as knights on horseback tumble across the page like interlocking puzzle pieces. When Bear reaches the south at last, friends reveal that Bird isn’t there, a setback that eventually gives way to a joyful reunion. David tempers the adversity Bear faces by giving magical invention free rein, and Caudry responds with images of equally startling richness. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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