Bear Against Time

Jean-Luc Fromental, illus. by Joëlle Jolivet. Norton, $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-324-01135-4
Because Bear can’t decipher analog time, he’s late for school each day and shows up for band practice dressed for gym; when he misses breakfast and lunch, he raids a bakery, and Bear’s human parents, who are white, “have to pay for the meringues, eclairs, and tarts.” (“I was very hungry,” says Bear.) Bear’s frustrated father mandates an intensive weekend workshop on telling time, and the pedagogical hook—clock as pizza with 12 equal slices—is so successful (readers having their own struggles will want to take note) that “hours and minutes no longer hold any secrets.” In fact, Bear now lives a life that’s as rigorously overscheduled as any human kid’s. Even households dominated by digital clocks will find that time flies with the frequent collaborators (365 Penguins): Fromental contributes droll narration in an uncredited translation from the French, and Jolivet adds comically chaotic slice-of-life cartooning, including a Dali-inspired dream replete with pizza clocks. An antic fable of learning that ends, wisely and sweetly, with an argument for living beyond the clock. Ages 6–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2021
Release date: 02/16/2021
Genre: Children's
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