A companion to Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking (2011), 27 more wise and witty minimalist fables drawn (with added dialogue and other minor changes) from French cartoonist Coudray’s original series.
Presented, mostly, in three to six cleanly drawn panels, each mini-tale features Benjamin (Barnabé in the original French) and one or more smaller animals interacting in outdoorsy settings. Most of the storytelling is visual, with just an occasional comment in a balloon, and many of the single-page episodes have an Aesopian flavor. In “Can I Get a Ride?” he picks up one woodland hitchhiker after another until, in the last panel, tables turn and they have to carry him. In “See-Saw,” he “helps” a fox carry a log (and demonstrates a principle of physics) not by lifting the long end, but by hopping onto the short end. In response to a rabbit’s philosophical proposition that you can’t make “Something out of Nothing,” he makes a hole and a pile of dirt: “TWO things!” In a deft comment on narcissism, Benjamin agrees to let the rabbit paint his portrait around the trunk of a tree—so that the image ends up staring at its own butt.
Emergent readers won’t be the only audience delighted by these winning combinations of humor and thought-provoking twists. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)