Woe is Bear.
Bear lives alone in the forest. There are many other animals there, but they are all afraid of him, and so he has no friends. Summer and fall both pass by slowly, and it’s just about time for Bear’s long winter sleep when he decides to remedy his situation—he will have a party! Inventive and appealing watercolors and the chatty yet straightforward text combine nicely as Bear writes out invitations and delivers them to Deer, Beaver, Fox, Chickadee, Hare, and Squirrel. The afternoon of the event goes by without any visitors, and Bear is just about to give up hope when the animals tentatively peek in. Refreshments are served, followed by dancing, and everyone has a rollicking good time. By the end of the party, Bear’s generosity and kindness have made him some new friends, and he knows he will wake up to a bright future come spring. Some suspension of belief is necessary here; the animals’ initial fear is certainly justified, as bears do feed on some of these creatures, but the story’s lively charm and warmth overcome this hiccup. Cinar’s digitally finished watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations are reminiscent of Chris Raschka’s in their splashy ebullience and brushy lines.
A solid choice on how to overcome isolation and learn to make friends. (Picture book. 4-7)