Bear is sure no one could possibly be as sick as he is.
Bear has a miserable cold. His throat hurts, his snout is sore and red and he has retired to his chair to wallow in his misery. Enter Mouse, who is determined to make everything better. He is unrelentingly cheerful as he reads to Bear, sings to him and makes him soup. Bear is completely unappreciative and makes pronouncements about his weakness and trembling, and the “gravity of the situation.” He even dictates his will. After a long restful sleep, he feels much better, but now it is Mouse who is ill and Bear who provides care and sympathy. Bear is very much a diva, and Mouse is patient and kind. Becker employs a lively mix of dramatic, over-the-top dialogue, with a plethora of descriptive language to set the tone. Denton’s watercolor, ink and gouache illustrations are just right as they depict Bear in all his suffering glory. The double-page spread at the center, showing Mouse dragging a weak and helpless Bear up the stairs, is hilarious. This funny, gentle homily about friendship and selflessness begs to be read aloud with young readers acting out the parts.
Bear and Mouse are the 21st-century Damon and Pythias—kids who haven't met them yet will be happy they've encountered them now. (Picture book. 3-6)