cover image Honey


David Ezra Stein. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3786-3

Stein returns to the ursine protagonist and forest setting of his picture book Leaves. After waking up from hibernation, Bear goes on a quest for honey: “spicy, aromatic,/ sparkling with sunlight—Honey!” But it is not yet summer and too early for honey—which Bear learns after sticking his nose into a tree, where busy bees are working, and getting stung. While he waits for honey season to arrive, Bear finds other sources of joy, including frolicking in the rain and under a waterfall. But finally, at the sound of a buzz, Bear goes running to the source: “ ‘Honey!’ Just as good as he’d remembered.” Working in deceptively simple visual vignettes enclosed in rough-edged panels, Stein’s wriggly pen-and-ink lines bring a quality of vitality to the natural features of Bear’s habitat. This gentle outing about waiting and appreciating concludes in autumn, as Bear sits atop a hill, bathed in moonlight, remembering summer and “how good it had been.” Ages 2–5. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)