A lonely little boy in a red knitted hat is sadly in need of a playmate.
Despondently, he realizes that games like seesaw, catch, and hide-and-seek require two players. The satchel-toting bear passing by does not seem to be a likely companion. But then a paper boat bobs across the pond with a message: “BOO!” The boy responds with a return paper boat inscribed “Boo to you too!” After an exchange of paper-boat messages, the boy finds that the sender is that large, strangely blue bear. After trying—and failing at—several rounds of the boy’s favorite games, the boy and Bear seem to be incompatible playmates. One day Bear comes up with an idea. He builds a superduper treehouse out of logs, tied together with string. The boy is entranced with this, and they have great fun with the treehouse until winter comes and Bear disappears, leaving a paper-boat message: “I MUST GO.” The boy spends a long winter missing his friend until spring comes, and a flurry of paper boats signals Bear’s reappearance. Massini’s charmingly textured and colorful illustrations have a pleasing sense of spaciousness but don’t rescue this title from banality and tedium. The boy presents white.
Boy and bear will have to work a bit harder to compete. (Picture book. 2-5)