Papa Bear’s Page Fright

Wade Bradford, illus. by Mary Ann Fraser. Peter Pauper, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4413-2598-3
“Welcome to my story,” announces Goldilocks, in what appears to be a straightforward retelling of the classic tale of “The Three Bears,” but chaos ensues when Papa Bear develops “page fright.” Peering at the reader with a worried expression, he says: “There are people looking at us. Why are there words floating in the air?!” After he repeatedly flubs his lines and even breaks a prop, Papa Bear tears out of the story and leads everyone on a chase through other familiar fables. With soft lines and colors, Fraser (No Yeti Yet) creates a refreshingly vulnerable father figure whose embarrassment is palpable. Eventually lured back by the smell of porridge, Papa Bear is reluctantly persuaded that people are listening to him because they like his acting. The encouragement gives him the confidence he needs to deliver his line perfectly. Bradford’s dialogue-driven metastorytelling (even the narrator talks back to the characters) begs to be read aloud in different voices, inviting readers to become part of the performance. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/26/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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