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)