A bear’s epic quest for the Golden Pear illuminates valuable life lessons.
Lee (The Cake Thief, 2008, etc.) returns with a spirited animal fable for preschool children that sheds light on basic moral principles. Magdalena is a cuddly white bear who sets off on a quest to find the Golden Pear. She is told by a â€œreliable source” that before she finds it, she must first learn a few simple lessons about life. Magdalena seeks out the advice of her friends. Edwin the Ant is unable to provide any answers but requests help carrying sand he’ll use to build his home. Henry the Butterfly, with his pink polka dot wings, is equally clueless but needs assistance catching bugs for dinner. Next, Magdalena encounters Samantha the Snake, who doesn’t know much about life lessons. In fact, Samantha doesn’t even know the directions to her own home. Malcolm the Mouse is gathering nuts and seeds for winter, and Magdalena pitches in before moving on to Francine the Fish. But Francine needs to clean up her polluted pond. Although she is quite happy to help her friends out, Magdalena is disheartened when she discovers she is no closer to discovering the location of her much sought-after Golden Pear. Hungry and tired, she heads home. Along the way, she stops to nap beneath a tree that is suddenly filled with golden pears. Magdalena delights in finding the elusive fruit and realizes that she’s discovered life’s simple lessons, and more so, the â€œsecrets of the universe.” Charcoal and color pencil illustrations display soft, chunky crayon-like, folk appeal. Simple full and partial page designs warmly interact with the text’s mood and movement. Although references to the â€œreliable source” and the â€œsecrets of the universe” are too advanced for the book’s intended audience, the overall effect is both inviting and endearing.
Adorable characters demonstrate the unselfish qualities of true friendship.