Bear with Me

Noemi Vola. Eerdmans, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5578-7
Vola’s North American debut features quirky b&w pencil and tempura art, following a narrator whose life is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a towering, smudgy-outlined inky black bear. Despite the narrator’s many signs protesting bears (“BEARS NOT WELCOME,” the mat in front of the cartoonishly fenced-in, isolated house reads), the ursine figure charges through the front door and immediately proceeds to wreak havoc. “Since he’s been here,/ things have changed,” one spread reads, showing the angry pale-skinned narrator struggling uphill with the bear on their bicycle on one page, and their skiff tipping as the heavy bear unbalances it on the other. Common activities such as eating, watching a movie, and hanging out with friends are all disturbed by the bear’s outsize presence. Though the lack of clear resolution may disappoint some readers, and the text employs an instance of fat-shaming in a lengthy name-calling passage, this picture book could satisfactorily serve as a metaphor for coexisting with anxiety, depression, or unwanted emotions. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 08/05/2021
Release date: 08/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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