Dogs (and other children) are often used as reading buddies in schools and libraries, but bears may seem a bit unusual in that role.
When school starts, Mrs. Fitz-Pea pairs up her students as reading buddies, but Adelaide has a surprise. She brings her own buddy, a large brown bear in a bright blue, patterned ski sweater. Although the teacher is frightened (she literally screams: “AHHHHH!”), Adelaide is quick to describe the talents of bears. “They know how to build peaceful places where no one bothers you while you read. They sit side by side, knee to knee, and put the book between you, so you both can see.” In this double-page spread, Adelaide and her bear are pictured inside a flowered tent sitting on colorful pillows atop a granny-square afghan. Bears also encourage their human partners and “roar” their approval. When Adelaide finishes singing her bear’s praises, Mrs. Fitz-Pea invites him in. The digital artwork has a retro look, and there is diversity in the classroom, including an African-American teacher. Bespectacled Adelaide, pale-skinned and dark-haired, uses some sophisticated language and says: “Bears know that once you get a taste for books, you’ll discover trail after trail of adventure and clamber to new heights.”
Children will surely want their own large brown reading buddies after listening to this book about the joys and challenges of reading. (Picture book. 4-6)