Exuberant Puppy and bored Bear meet one day under the gnarled oak, and from then on, they are the best of friends. But will school put an end to their friendship?
Catch, chase, hide-and-seek, ear-flapping bike rides, plank-walking pirate adventures, and splashes in the creek—this duo does it all over the course of a marvelous summer. But then one morning Bear doesn’t come to the oak to play. When he finally does appear, he’s wearing a backpack and rushing so he won’t be late for the first day of school. Poor Puppy obviously does not understand, watching mournfully as Bear dashes through the gate, sadly following Bear’s play with other animal friends at lunchtime, and missing his friend when he finally is released from school. Puppy tries to play all their favorite games by himself, but it’s just not any fun. Bear finds him that afternoon, sadly curled up under the oak, and the two clear up the misunderstanding and enjoy after-school afternoons filled with best-friend romps. And next fall, it will be Puppy’s turn to go to school. Bendall-Brunello’s Puppy and Bear have marvelously expressive faces, and their play certainly looks like fun in the watercolor-and–colored pencil illustrations. Bear is fully anthropomorphic, wearing clothes and walking on his hind feet, while Puppy is not, which makes for a relationship that might be difficult for readers to decode.
Fits the bill for readers whose own best buds have been lost to school. (Picture book. 3-7)