cover image Me!


Philip Waechter, , trans. by Christopher Franceschelli. . Handprint, $9.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-1-59354-087-6

Although the title seems to indicate otherwise, this earnestly winsome, small-format book is actually a tribute to the comforts of companionship. A giant but genial-looking bear—aka "Me"—catalogues all the traits that make him "pretty special." "I'm beautiful," he says, admiring his reflection in a rain puddle. "Generosity is my middle name. I love to share," he notes, as he gives candy to a somewhat startled hiker. With rarely more than five or six words per spread, the bear's narrative delivers his lines with a wink. For, "I take things at my own pace," he heads down the street with a back-up of honking horns behind him. But even the healthiest sense of self-esteem isn't enough on those days when the bear feels "absolutely alone... and small." That's when he knows it's time to seek out a friend for a (literal) bear hug and some quality time—even if it requires a lengthy commute back to the forest. The crisp ink lines, expanses of white space and emotional understatement of German author-artist Waechter's cartooning counterbalance the at times sentimental text. This warmhearted message in its gifty package will be as likely to be passed among adults as among children. Ages 5-up. (June)