Bear sets out to discover what kind of bear he is, but he doesn’t quite fit into a category.
Bear is in the library searching through books about bears, trying to figure out what kind of bear he is, when Nelly, a brown child with her hair in two puffs, meets him. Bear decides to see if there is “a bear out there who can help.” He travels west and finds a grizzly bear who loves “nice long naps.” Bear also loves napping—but when the grizzly announces he’ll be sleeping for six months, Bear realizes he “can’t possibly be a grizzly bear.” The grizzly bear agrees, pointing out the “funny little stitches” on Bear’s tummy are un-grizzly-like. Bear’s visits with a polar bear in the north, a spectacled bear in the south, and a sun bear in the east follow the same pattern. Bear returns home saddened. He tells Nelly, “I suppose that I’m just an ordinary and uninteresting bear.” But Nelly points out all his unique features and asks if he would like to be her bear. Bear agrees that “Nelly’s Bear” is the best kind to be. The illustrations use shading, line, and speckles over muted browns, blues, and greens, emphasizing characters and sketching their settings. This heartwarming tale can be enjoyed as a simple story or used to talk about identity, relationships, and belonging.
Thoughtfully layered and simply sweet. (Picture book. 3-8)