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BEN LOVES BEAR by David McPhail Kirkus Star


by David McPhail ; illustrated by David McPhail

Age Range: 1 - 3

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0386-7
Publisher: abramsappleseed

A lovely, toddler-friendly tale of a little boy’s relationship with his teddy bear.

Each page uses two- or three-word sentences and quiet scenes to express Ben and Bear’s daily life and mutual affection. The inseparable duo engages in familiar activities, such as hide-and-seek, getting dressed and sandbox play. “Ben tickles Bear. Bear laughs. / Bear does tricks. Ben laughs, too.”  While Bear is undoubtedly a stuffed toy, the teddy interacts with Ben as a fully realized playmate and companion. McPhail, in top form here, has created soft watercolors with rounded lines that adroitly capture Ben's toddler movements. The artist's use of full spreads and smaller visual vignettes spotlighted in hazy, round borders gives the simple, easy-reader–like text rhythm and balance.

Already a gifted artist, McPhail proves here that he intrinsically understands what the youngest readers want and need. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)