cover image Grin and Bear It

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 (" %E2%80%98You're so funny, Bear,' Fawn would call. %E2%80%98Great 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%E2%80%94at 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 na%C3%AFf 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%E2%80%938. (July)