Bear discovers there's no place like home.
Tired of waking up every morning “in the same green forest under the same blue sky,” Bear decides to try out some other animal homes. Bird's nest is too high. It’s stuffy underground with Mole, too steep on Goat’s cliff, and too deep with Octopus in the ocean. It’s too cold where Polar Bear and the puffins live and too hot in Camel’s desert; it’s too rainy with Orangutan and too muddy with the hippos. Home is satisfying after all. This familiar trajectory and story pattern has been set in a stylized natural world, recognizable and yet unusual, starting with the blue-toned forest that spreads across the endpapers. Na has combined handmade painterly textures with digitally generated layers into imaginatively colored digital images that show well and suggest the various animals’ distinctive habitats, each on a double-page spread. Bear is appealingly portrayed, with highly expressive body language. Some of his friends are, amusingly, quite surprised by his visit. The text is spare, usually only a sentence on each spread, but carefully and engagingly written. Listeners can’t help but sympathize with Bear in his frustration and rejoice when he finds the place that’s “just where he wanted to be.”
Pair this grand read-aloud with Na’s Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit (2010) for preschool natural-history awareness. (Picture book. 2-5)