From the Bear Books series

Families fond of Bear won’t want to wait to read this installment.

A favorite ursine returns, this time squirmy and impatient.

Bear’s den is strewn with colorful streamers and presents. Bear himself wears a jaunty polka-dot bow tie. He is excited for a surprise, but it’s not happening until later. “He looks toward the sun, / but the day’s just begun. // But the bear / can’t / wait!” Gopher, Mouse, and Mole stop by with ingredients for a carrot cake, and everyone joins in mixing and measuring. “Raven brings a candle / and Owl brings flowers. / Bear asks, ‘Is it time?’ / But there’s still TWO hours!” Bear starts to get even more antsy. In true preschooler form, he starts to fidget and wriggle, tangling the decor around him. Then, when he rushes to be the first one to help with the cake, he trips—and the cake is squashed! All “because bear / couldn’t / wait!” Suddenly, Bear’s speedy (yet, this time, controlled) tendencies are needed as everyone puts the party together again. Impulsive tots will relate—patience is a difficult skill to grasp. Wilson’s sturdy, familiar verse steadies the story, even amid the flying frosting. Chapman’s equally familiar cute forest animals are as expressive as ever, and Bear’s postures as he struggles to wait will elicit both giggles and sympathy. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.8% of actual size.)

Families fond of Bear won’t want to wait to read this installment. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5975-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sentimental but effective.

A book aimed at easing separation anxiety and reinforcing bonds.

Twins Liza and Jeremy awaken during a thunderstorm and go to their mother for comfort. She reassures them that they’re safe and says, “You know we’re always together, no matter what,” when they object to returning to bed. She then explains that when she was a child her mother told her about the titular “Invisible String,” encouraging them to envision it as a link between them no matter what. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love,” she tells them, reinforcing this idea as they proceed to imagine various scenarios, fantastic and otherwise, that might cause them to be separated in body. She also affirms that this string can “reach all the way to Uncle Brian in heaven” and that it doesn’t go away if she’s angry with them or when they have conflicts. As they go to bed, reassured, the children, who present white, imagine their friends and diverse people around the world connected with invisible strings, promoting a vision of global unity and empathy. While the writing often feels labored and needlessly repetitive, Lew-Vriethoff’s playful cartoon art enhances and lightens the message-driven text, which was originally published in 2000 with illustrations by Geoff Stevenson.

Sentimental but effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48623-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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