Katie and the bear who lives under the stairs at her house start a correspondence. At first, Katie just tells him to shove off. But after the bear takes a brief vacation, Katie misses the brute, and when he writes that he has been ill, she prepares a hot-water bottle for him. Finally, the two come face to face (at Mom's connivance) for a tea party. There is little pungency in this bogey-in-the-closet tale: no intimation that Ursus horribilis may indeed reside under the stairs, no tension, no drama in the denouement, no appreciation of fear's role -- no bite, as it were. The artwork is overly benign, the colors too washed out for any edginess. See Helen Cooper's stair-dwelling griz (The Bear Under the Stairs, 1993) for a convincing bear scare. From the beginning, it's clear that newcomer Harrison's bear is a harmless figment. Katie might just as well have had this correspondence with her parrot.