Taking a break from Ladybug Girl, Soman uses his watercolors to paint a playful tale of responsibility.
When Dash, Charlie and Theo—three sibling bears growing up by the sea—break their mother’s treasured blue seashell while attempting to get into the honey pot, they don’t ’fess up. They instead sail away in their boat, thinking maybe they can find another shell to replace the broken one before their mother gets home. An old, “salty bear” advises them to sail to a faraway island, but when they get there, there’s no shell. A sudden storm, conveyed in a brilliant page turn, helps the quarreling bears realize both their common vulnerability and their culpability, and they sail home, finding a blue shell on their own beach. They apologize to Mama Bear, offering the replacement shell. She forgives them, of course, but with a twist that will make readers smile as they remember another naughty adventurer and his “still hot” dinner. Filled with illustrations that insert lighthearted visual nods to classic books (a boat named Melville is filled with Moby Dick–ish bears, and a raft carries Huckleberry Finn–like bears), this tale is a treat for both eye and ear.
Humorous and intelligent—and with watercolor seascapes so luminous that readers will want to jump in—this is a book to be treasured for years to come. (Picture book. 2-8)