cover image You and Me, Little Bear

You and Me, Little Bear

Martin Waddell. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-879-2

They're ba-ack! The most bewitching bruins to hit the printed page since Paddington and Pooh now return for a third engagement, and it's just as winsome as their previous outings (Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?; Let's Go Home, Little Bear). A warm tale of togetherness, the story quickly strikes a theme familiar to any preschooler: ""Little Bear wanted to play, but Big Bear had things to do."" The cave needs cleaning, the wood needs fetching and, before long, Big Bear needs a nap. Not Little Bear--he's full of energy and, after exhausting the solo possibilities (such as ""bear-stand-on-his-head"" and ""bear-run-around-by-himself""), he finally coaxes Big Bear to play with him. Waddell's finely honed text demonstrates the virtues of simplicity, and Firth's expressive watercolors splendidly amplify the story. Clothed in the colors of an autumn forest, the pages brim with emotion: through the tilt of a furry head or the incline of a paw, Firth conveys all the tenderness of the parent/child relationship. Author and artist are a match made in picture book heaven. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)