A meditative tale with a homespun feel, best for thoughtful readers.

A BEAR NAMED BJORN

A thoughtful bear has tranquil forest adventures.

In a faraway wood, Bjorn, a bear with a kidney-bean–shaped head who often stands on two legs, lives “in a cave. / The walls are very smooth. / The floor is pretty comfortable.” Over six episodic chapters, Bjorn has a variety of whimsical escapades, including winning a sofa that does not quite fit his cave’s aesthetic, borrowing clothes from a human campsite (and returning them, of course, with a thank-you note) for a carnival with his animal friends, and preparing himself for his annual hibernation. Bjorn and his compadres encounter problems both animal and human, such as trying to select just the right forest object to mail to a human pen pal or visiting self-appointed forest physician Owl for an annual exam. French author Perret’s tale is serene, moving along languidly like the calming flow of a brook through the woods. Bits of text reside alongside simply wrought thin, black-line illustrations on cool mint-green pages in this graphic-novel hybrid. While the story itself makes for a pleasant read-aloud, the small-scale, unassuming art may better serve independent readers than groups. Children drawn to quieter animal fare imbued with warm humor and accompanied by a gentle nudge toward nature should find kinship here.

A meditative tale with a homespun feel, best for thoughtful readers. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-776572-69-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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