A boy decides he wants to be wild and free, like a bear.
Theo wakes up one morning and decides he is a bear. He practices his growl, scratches his rear on his bedpost, and declares bears don’t wear underwear (bare bottom illustrated, so giggles are guaranteed). His mother plays along with his grizzly ways (and even sees opportunities for adding veggies to his diet) but tries to tame his wildness. As a bear, Theo causes a lot of trouble at school. Using a touch of turnabout, his mother helps him realize that he can be a little wild and free while still following the rules. Davis-Pyles captures the struggle between a child who wants to play all day and a parent who wants to maintain control but not stifle his imagination. The narration is typed, while dialogue is illustrated in speech bubbles. Although the story flows well, there is one speech bubble that may cause pause: “Forest foods will make you brown bear BIG!” In the illustrations, Subisak alternates Theo as a boy with Theo as a grizzly. She uses bold colors and varied lines to add movement and emphasis on the emotions and actions. Using the details and the shadows, she does an excellent job of showing the two sides: grizzly vs. human. Theo and his mom present Asian.
The text and illustrations will amuse, and children and caregivers alike will find something to relate to in this actions-and-consequences story. (Picture book. 3-7)