Little Bear has an exciting experience in store when he follows Papa Bear to work.
In their two previous outings, Bear’s Song (2013) and Bear’s Sea Escape (2014), it’s been Papa Bear chasing after his errant offspring. Here the tables turn: waking from hibernation to find Papa gone, Little Bear gallops in pursuit down a long, winding road that leads him through teeming woodlands, an equally populous underground, and at last to an immense circus tent! There, he sees his dad on the high wire, gets to be blasted out of a cannon, and lands in the arms of—Mama Bear, who has a teeny tiny surprise of her own to present. Along with packing hundreds of diminutive but individually drawn animals, circus performers, and spectators into his oversized scenes, Chaud tucks in humorous side business, such as a glimpse of Alice and the White Rabbit. He also prompts viewers to trail the wide-eyed cub with small die-cut holes of diverse shape that offer previews of tantalizing details on the next spread. The newly expanded ursine clan caps its performance with a further display of spectacular acrobatics, then makes its way home. The spare text is a touch flat, but the loss of the French original’s punning, fun-to-pronounce title, Poupoupidours, is the only real disappointment here.
A charmer, like its predecessors. (Picture book. 6-8)