cover image L.L. Bear's Island Adventure

L.L. Bear's Island Adventure

Kate Rowinski, Author, Dawn Peterson, Illustrator Down East Books $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-89272-320-1

Why not a trip to the bakery with the Pillsbury Doughboy? How about a cookout with Ronald McDonald? Although the possibilities for appropriating commercially conceived characters are endless, Rowinski and Peterson confine their choice to the L.L. Bean clothing company's trademark L.L. Bear, which they proceed to clad in suspiciously familiar-looking shirts and parkas. (L.L.'s costars--a puffin, a fox and two seals--have perhaps escaped the purveyor's blandishments--they appear au naturel.) Yet any sort of character could have filled L.L.'s role in Rowinski's unimaginative, adverb-laden story: the bear kayaks to an island, picnics with his pals, searches for a strayed seal pup, braves an ocean storm and bids farewell to autumn. Peterson favors cheerful reds and blues, and her compositions are balanced well, but the saccharine facial expressions on each character only exacerbate the cloying tones of the text. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)