cover image Bear and Squirrel Are Friends... Yes, Really!

Bear and Squirrel Are Friends... Yes, Really!

Deb Pilutti. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2913-9

Given the title, there’s no chance Bear would ever want to eat Squirrel, right? Just look at the way that Bear shakes acorns out of trees for Squirrel, and how Squirrel lets Bear use his bushy tail for a dust mop. Their friends, however, remain unconvinced. Squirrel’s fellow squirrels are horrified, while Bear’s pals savor fantasies of eating Squirrel in popcorn, in soup, or even in a sundae. Then comes the ultimate test: Bear goes into hibernation (Squirrel patiently knits a scarf that gets longer and longer) and wakes up feeling as hungry as, well, a bear. Can the friendship—and Squirrel—survive? With toylike drawings, sophisticated characterizations, and sly visual jokes, this very funny story tests and tickles readers’ faith in unlikely friendships before ending up right where it should, thanks to a little narrative misdirection and a Squirrel who knows his friend all too well. Yes, Pilutti (Ten Rules of Being a Superhero) is messing with her audience’s minds, but they won’t mind one bit. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)