A frazzled Mama Bear with a long to-do list learns to stop and smell the flowers.
No matter how long Mama’s list is, Bella Bear does not share her agenda. A typical toddler, Bella wants to play (preferably with Mama) and to do things herself: She wants what she wants. There’s no mischief to Bella, but even so, every rushed caregiver will empathize with Mama Bear’s mounting frustration, signaled in Bright’s illustrations by the prominent red wristwatch she points to, her upraised eyebrows, and her up-flung arms. But Bella’s expression when Mama’s temper finally erupts over the traffic lights gives Mama pause. “Mama has a change of heart. / She wants to go a different way. / ‘New plans for us, my Bella Bear… // We’re going to the park today!’ ” And just like that, list forgotten, the two spend the day enjoying each other’s company. And when it’s time to leave, their roles are humorously reversed. Bright’s anthropomorphized bears are pudgy and scribbly-furred, and they have large, round front paws. Bella is a lighter shade of brown than Mama and wears clothing; outside the house, Mama sports only a scarf. A family portrait shows only the duo.
A solid message to caregivers about the value of unstructured time with their children; child readers may hope for similar results with their own grown-ups. (Picture book. 3-6)