A little cub learns that there’s just no way to speed up growing up.
Little Bear doesn’t heed his parents’ advice to “Be patient” about growing up and instead decides to ask others for help. Neighbor Bear tells him to eat ice cream, Grandma Bear advises lemonade, Uncle Bear advocates bicycling, and Auntie Bear suggests painting. (Little Bear and his parents are polar bears, as are Uncle and Grandma Bear; Neighbor Bear and Auntie Bear have brown fur.) Alas, nothing helps him grow in size, though perhaps the underlying message is that pleasurable experiences make the journey to growing up go by more quickly? Otherwise readers may feel that these grown-up bears are stringing the earnest little cub along with their nonsensical, playful advice. At the book’s end the crestfallen, still-small cub returns to his parents, and they reassure him that he will “grow a little but every day. Just like that!” without doing anything special. A closing spread depicts the trio in a bear hug but misses an opportunity to show the little cub in the future all grown up or even just a bit bigger as evidence to reassure similarly distressed readers. The pastel-hued illustrations are equally insubstantial, though children will get some chuckles at the sight of Little Bear on the pot after many glasses of lemonade.
Maybe the story needed a little bit more growth in order to deliver a satisfying ending. (Picture book. 2-4)