Author: Cousseau, Alex
A newly arrived bear family receives both welcome and suspicion as they try to make a new home in the forest.
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/23)
School Library Journal (08/01/23)
Booklist (+) (10/01/23)
The Hornbook (00/09/23)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2023 K-Gr 2—In this import with something of a Goldilocks reversal, three refugee bear brothers come stay with a little girl who resides by herself in a big house in the forest. Invited by the girl's bat friend to allay her loneliness, the enormous Zzli siblings fill the girl's house with noise and dancing, cheerfully eating and cooking, setting up a train set, and installing beehives in the garden. They tell the tragic story of being exiled from their home, and the hardships they experienced on their journey to find a new one. The girl enjoys this chaotic ursine company, dubbing the brothers Yes, No, and Maybe, and in turn, being called Welcome by them. However, she discovers that the neighborhood forest creatures are hostile and afraid, espousing sentiments that "all the bears in the world will overrun [their] beautiful forest." A policeman arrives under the pretense of dismantling the beehives, and then in a darker turn of events, the girl's house is set on fire, forcing her and the bears to seek a more hospitable place to stay. Though the text ends on a questioning note, the later spreads depict the girl and the bears finding a welcoming community. Boutin's fantastical illustrations have a vintage graphics feel, providing a contrast to the difficult and grim themes. The cartoonish antics of the bears and the vivid colors and patterns lighten the mood but do not detract from the heft of the story. VERDICT A unique and touching take on the subjects of immigration and intolerance, welcome in collections alongside Yuyi Morales's Dreamers and Issa Watanabe's Migrants.—Yelena Voysey - Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/01/2023 *Starred Review* Bears looking for a place to live find friendship and hospitality in a stranger’s home in this touching story with a classic feel. The brothers Zzli, who are three bears but eat enough for four, are refugees who have been on the road for a long time. A little girl who lives alone in a large house warmly offers up her home. She endearingly nicknames them Yes, No, and Maybe, reflective of their common responses. The brothers in turn call the girl Welcome, and together they eat, dance, laugh, and have fun. Yes, No, and Maybe organize a party for the neighborhood, but no one comes except for the girl’s bat-friend. The girl and bat-friend soon grasp the intolerance of the other forest residents, who are worried that “the bears in the world will overrun [their] beautiful forest.” One day, a police officer shows up “because [the] neighbors have been complaining.” The following night, the girl’s house is set on fire, presumably by someone who doesn’t like the bears. The brothers Zzli, the bat-friend, and the little girl set off to find a more welcoming place to call home. This moving allegory is captured by expressive, illustrations in a vintage style created with markers and digital media primarily featuring reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Wordless full-page spreads at the end capture the uplifting conclusion, capping off the story's inclusive message. - Copyright 2023 Booklist.