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|Bear who wasn't there|
Author: Pham, LeUyen
A picture book inviting readers to join the search for a missing bear.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/15/16)
School Library Journal (10/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2016 What to do when the featured character of the story—the titular bear—is missing? An eager mallard seizes the chance for his moment in the spotlight, dismissing bears as irresponsible and hawking his own story, The Duck Who Showed Up. Despite many diversions, a wildly diverse and abundant cast of animals continues their search for the bear—even the author-illustrator shows up. At one point, the whole horde of creatures gathers across two pages to make sure there is no bear among them, though most of the pages provide an uncluttered narrative. While reminiscent of books like Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (2003) and Kelly Bingham’s Z Is for Moose (2012), this has its own personality with numerous animals making cameos—a giraffe on a toilet, a moose about to be sawed in two, a boar, and a bare hare, to name a few. When you have plenty of crisply colored characters imbued with spirited temperaments and an interactive, engaging text, who needs a bear? Perhaps the mallard makes his point. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2016 PreS-Gr 2—The author/illustrator draws inspiration from the one thing that has been missing from all of her previous work: a bear. All parts of the book, from the case cover to the inside front and back covers to the title page, make light of the absence of the bear. The text is metafictional, calling attention to itself and even bringing Pham in as a character late in the tale. Much of the narrative is told through dialogue in which a cast of animal characters provide information about the bear's whereabouts and suggestions for where to find it. Anticipation builds with each page turn and every new animal who appears. The large cast includes aliens, armadillos, koalas, sloths, dinosaurs, zebras, and more. The author speaks directly to readers in a tone that is fun and light. The mixed-media art supports the humor by depicting cartoon animals who have exaggerated features and exhibit many human actions, such as standing on two legs, drinking out of a straw, using a toilet and a bathtub, and performing acts of magic, while the search for the bear takes place. The ending offers readers the payoff they were waiting for. VERDICT This witty picture book is perfect for storytime.—Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.