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A BEAR AND HIS BOY by Sean Bryan


by Sean Bryan & illustrated by Tom Murphy

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 1-55970-838-7
Publisher: Arcade

Droll cartoons become increasingly less buoyant as a repetitive rhyme consumes this otherwise nicely designed and formatted picture book. The promise of a story in the opening pages—a bewildered bear wakes in his bed to find a boy on his back—is never really fulfilled. After looking at a packed schedule, Bear takes boy (Zach) for flapjacks, to receive a plaque, watch horses race at the track—as the text scans more awkwardly with each “ack.” When readers (and the protagonists) finally get to stop and “smell the lilacs,” the verse seems forced. Murphy’s pleasant olive brown of the busy bear, along with muted yellow backgrounds and highlights, give each two-page spread a comfortable feel—too comfortable to give meaning to the message: to slow down. The simple line drawings of bear and boy are endearing, but just can’t overcome the plot deficiencies, either in text or illustration. (Picture book. 2-5)