Escaped bears return to mix it up among humans, but this time it's to save their cub as they all become media celebrities in a lively parody of TV news.
The friendly, smarter-than-the-average bears from Biedrzycki's Bear Alert (2014) get more media exposure when their little one climbs into a truck full of teddy bears and ends up at a carnival. The bombastic crew from Channel 3 News chases the story as it unfolds, complete with glossy graphics, man-on-the-street interviews, and a running news crawl ("WITNESSES SAY BEARS LOOK STRANGELY FAMILIAR"). In a neat conceit, all the book's text is in these crawlers or in speech bubbles spoken by the Channel 3 talking heads. The gimmick works, though young readers may not be as up-to-speed on the visual language of 24-hour TV news as their parents. Good thing the verbal handoffs from reporters to anchors move the story along briskly and the gorgeous illustrations are of a quality that calls to mind big-budget 3-D–animated films. That means highly detailed backgrounds packed with visual jokes (a father misses the bear drama because he's staring at his smartphone while on the Ferris wheel) and carnivalgoing characters who are refreshingly diverse and keenly imagined.
Who knows if the TV-news format can stay fresh much longer, but the bears are sweetly rendered, and the chaos that unfolds around them entertains even without the frame. (Picture book. 4-8)