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NO BEARS by Meg McKinlay


by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5890-8
Publisher: Candlewick

A storyteller spins a tale of her own devising—while the pictures tell a somewhat different one.

“I’m tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS,” grumps the young narrator. Claiming that you don’t need them, she proceeds to craft a story about a monster who sets out to steal a princess and is ultimately foiled by a fairy godmother. Fair enough—but as is evident from the episode’s first page on, the godmother hovering watchfully just beyond the edges of each scene is unmistakably ursine. Framed as ring-bound notebook pages, Rudge’s pale, fine-lined illustrations feature a comfy royal family and a not-very-scary monster that resembles a misshapen, rubber limbed frog. There are also an owl and a pussycat, three pigs, gingerbread men, a girl in a red hood and assorted other familiar figures looking on with increasing puzzlement as the narrator resolutely ignores the elephant—or in this case, the bear—in the room, even after she reaches a “happy ever after.”

Young fans of David Wiesner’s Three Pigs (2001) and other metafictive romps will be properly amused. (Picture book. 6-8)