There’s fascinating aesthetic composition here, if the relationship doesn’t distract.

MAUDIE AND BEAR

Picture books are full of odd-couple friendships, plenty of which feature a bear; this example stands out in splendid composition and an unsettling dynamic.

Five stories showcase the domestic and emotional relationship between Maudie, a little girl in old-fashioned garb, and Bear, looming over Maudie with a curved body and gentle expression. Bear gives Maudie everything, from night-time dancing to a comforting lap after a Goldilocks-inspired forest scare. However, roles are oddly unclear: Bear seems too pandering for a parent, too ever-present for a babysitter. But nor are they peers, in the classic Frog and Toad mold. Is Bear a stuffed animal, fantasy-enlarged? Perhaps, because Bear caters to Maudie’s every desire, and a toy bear on wheels (Bear’s real form?) appears frequently; but Bear hurts Maudie’s feelings twice, which doesn’t seem fantasy-bear–like. (They make up both times, but both events are significant.) Humor lies in Maudie’s exercising by sitting in a bike basket while Bear peddles or picking dandelions and fussing (“You forgot to peel the grapes”) instead of helping fix their snack. Maudie’s more self-entitled than amusingly childlike; Bear’s an agreeable doormat when not laughing at her. The illustrations are more palatable. Soft watercolors inhabit loose, sketchy pencil lines. Blackwood’s inventive compositions dance and change on every page, with visual material from spreads hiding creatively behind multi-sized sequential picture boxes.

There’s fascinating aesthetic composition here, if the relationship doesn’t distract. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25709-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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