cover image Scare a Bear

Scare a Bear

Kathy-jo Wargin, illus, by John Bendall-Brunello. Sleeping Bear, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-430-5

From the team behind Moose on the Loose comes another story about a renegade forest animal. Five friends at a campground notice a sign on a tree that reads, "Do you know how to scare a bear?" and discover the answer—no—when one shows up. Though his goofy, overgrown appearance isn't especially threatening (by book's end, he's wearing a red baseball cap), he's just naturalistic enough to be unsettling, especially when he goes snout-to-nose with a redheaded girl in pigtails. Becoming a furry nuisance, the bear joins them in their rowboat ("What if that bear wants to fish from your boat?/ Do you think he would fit?/ Would you tell him to sit?"), sits down at a picnic table for dinner, and even joins in a sleepover, taking a belly flop onto a top bunk. In the end, though, the kids discover that it's pretty simple to scare a bear with a single word, "Boo!" The attention and detail Bendall-Brunello lavishes on the bear doesn't carry over to the kids he antagonizes, but the fish-out-of-water slapstick should get some chuckles. Ages 4–8. (May)