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WONDER BEAR by Tao Nyeu Kirkus Star


by Tao Nyeu

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3328-2
Publisher: Dial Books

Newcomer Nyeu’s wordless fantasy begins with a girl and boy sowing seeds—she, for watermelons, he, for a hat (or so his planted sign would indicate). The pair sleeps in a people-bed beside their garden bed, awakening next morn to sprouting melon seeds and an eye-poppingly huge flowering plant. Its largest bud yields a magic hat and a white bear—who parlays the day into something wondrous, indeed. From his hat, Wonder Bear produces monkeys, giant bubbles resembling lions and flora that morphs into sea-creature escorts. After careering exhilaratingly through night sky and sea, the little band heads back in time for Bear to tuck the children in beside their fabulous garden, now rife with full-size watermelons. Borrowing from Seuss, Gag, Thurber and Japanese textiles, Nyeu’s lush silk-screened pictures pulse with stylized yet organic forms, teetering perspectives and a mysterious, apt conclusion. The design elements are noteworthy, too: The generous trim size, creamy, opaque, matte paper and lovely boards and endpapers combine artfully. An intriguing, nuanced debut from an artist to watch. (Picture book. 3-5)