Grin and Bear It

Leo Landry. Charlesbridge, $12.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-57091-745-5
The title of Landry's (Space Boy) spry chapter book could easily be a punch line from its protagonist's repertoire of pun-centric jokes. An aspiring stand-up comic, Bear dreams of making his friends laugh (" ‘You're so funny, Bear,' Fawn would call. ‘Great jokes!' Chuck would shout"). He's fine practicing his routine in front of a mirror, but his confidence crumbles whenever he speaks in front of a crowd: "His knees knocked. His paws paused. His fur froze." After much practice, Bear decides he's ready to perform onstage and invites his friends to the show—at which he bungles all his jokes. Mortified, he runs off to the local watering hole, but a hummingbird, also a would-be comedian, finds his discarded sheet of jokes and hatches a plan that will benefit them both. A deft balance of punchy, dialogue-driven text and expressive, appealingly naïf pencil-and-watercolor pictures make this well suited to newly independent readers. With humor and subtlety, Landry's words and art impart a smart message about partnership, ingenuity, and pursuing one's goals. Ages 5–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-1-57091-746-2
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-1-60734-303-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4703-0355-6
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