In his third outing (Room for Bear, 2015; Bear Is Not Tired, 2016), Bear learns to share jam and eat his vegetables.
On a grocery outing with his duck family, Bear first tastes jam (a detail cleverly shown in an illustration before the title page). Bear loves jam so much he forgets to share, eats it at inappropriate times, and, worst of all, refuses to eat anything but jam. Mama Duck decrees no more jam until the vegetables are eaten. Bear goes to bed hungry and his “tummy growled so loudly he couldn’t sleep,” but he still refuses to eat anything but jam. Boy Duck and Girl Duck to the rescue! They invent games that coax Bear into inadvertently eating his vegetables, and contentment reigns again. Gavin’s tranquil watercolor illustrations, rendered in pastel washes, give the story an overall impression of serenity even when Bear is behaving badly. The illustrations are presented in a variety of formats—spot illustrations, double-page spreads, and single-page spreads that blend seamlessly and rarely fail to take advantage of the visual humor inherent in a family of small white ducks with one very large bear. The story’s lessons—share, and eat your vegetables—are delivered painlessly and good-humoredly, and Gavin’s bear and ducks are cute as buttons. (Although the ducks occasionally verge on too cute when they imitate Bear’s antics.) The front and back endpapers add nice details to the narrative.
Comfortable. (Picture book. 2-5)