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THE BEAR WHO SHARED by Catherine Rayner Kirkus Star


by Catherine Rayner and illustrated by Catherine Rayner

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3576-7
Publisher: Dial

Three forest animals square off over a juicy piece of fruit but avert conflict. Norris the bear spots a luscious plorringe ("the best fruit of all") hanging tenuously from a branch. "Norris [is] wise" and knows that if he just waits patiently under the tree, something wonderful will happen. There's a glitch, however: Tulip the mouse and Violet the raccoon also covet the luscious plorringe, which they spy from a branch above. A standoff ensues; when the plorringe finally falls from the tree, Norris pounces. But remember, he's wise; he shares his juicy treat with his two new friends. Rayner's quirky illustrations are the real star of the book; deceptively basic compositions with barely-there watercolor strokes that manage to look simultaneously haphazard and carefully applied. This former quality should invite children to emulate the author/illustrator, just as the minimal text is accessible to the very youngest readers. Accessible doesn't mean dull, though. The author uses sensuous language to communicate at a visceral level—"[Norris] shared the delicious, sun-kissed, soft-as-cotton-candy plorringe"—and variations in type size and line breaks guide readers through the narration perfectly. Best of all, Rayner almost makes us believe that plorringes exist. Simple and sublime. (Picture book. 3-6)