Nicholas’ family has so many blueberries that they hardly know what to do. The bear in the backyard only complicates the situation!
Nicholas has been taking care of the Preston blueberry bushes for a long time, and he has been setting out pails of berries for the bear every summer. He hopes he’s made a deal with the bear: if he provides berries, the bear won’t take them from the bushes. But there are too many berries for his family to pick on their own. At first, he invites the neighbors to pick some, and the next summer, he invites his class to help. He sells lots of the extra berries everyone has helped pick in order to raise money for the new rubber mats for the local playground. His admirable hard work and generosity result in Nico’s being named the town’s “Top Businessman of the Year.” Tuchman’s pleasant, cartoonlike grayscale illustrations depict an evidently largely white community, though at least one bystander is depicted wearing the hijab. These illustrations (many of them representing Nico’s various signs) break up pages that each feature several paragraphs of text. There is little character development in this tale and not much in the way of conflict, making this effort feel more like a very long early reader rather than an early chapter book. It ends with a teaser for the next in the series.
A vanilla-flavored tale with a built-in community-service message that may encourage youthful entrepreneurial efforts—or at least kindness to bears. (Fiction. 7-10)