Just like a child, a bear has many moods, and he often needs a good hug.
"A bear can be happy," the story begins, as the brown bear lifts his pointed nose into the air, full of brightly colored butterflies. "A bear can be sad" when all the butterflies drift away, and the bear, sitting on the ground, looks longingly up into the sky. Surplice's text is a simple 20-line poem, spread out over a dozen two-page illustrations. Readers watch the brown bear frolic in the falling leaves, examine and ultimately play with a turtle, climb a tree to get to a beehive and lie on his back in the water like a raft. This is so that his pals, the skunk, the rabbit and the squirrel, can ride on his tummy. And at the end of the day, just like a young reader, the bear gets very tired and hugs all his friends before going to bed. All the animals, big and small, curl up in the same way to sleep. Surplice's illustrations surprise with unusual colors—leaves and butterflies of hot pink and purple as well as oranges and browns and yellows, and a variety of background colors as well. Young readers should identify with the bear, though the simple, essentially story-free text needn't be so bland.
Sweet but undistinguished. (Picture book. 3-5)