A paean to filthy, sticky, beloved stuffed animals everywhere.
Flora and Bear are nearly inseparable, but then comes a dire transformation. “I love you, Bear,” she explains. “But Mommy says you are smelly and full of stains and you need a wash.” As he spins in the washer with faithful Flora seated outside, every stain conjures a memory, whether of hiding in fallen leaves or snacking on jam toast. The washing done, Flora finds that Bear no longer looks, smells, tastes or even feels like himself. It is a problem remedied by some additional play. When the child worries that Bear will no longer love her after she is washed and clean, her mother reassures her that he always will. Winning watercolors nicely set memories within a circular washing-machine-window–shaped frame. As for the characters themselves, Bear is subtly expressive and Flora an admirably active young woman. While not every rhyme in the text is perfect (“trees” with “leaves”, “games” with “stains”), readers will have so much fun playing along with the two friends they’ll hardly notice. The endpapers depicting Bear engaged in every activity, from sticking his paws in yogurt cups to finding himself belly-down in puddles of paint, drill home the fun to be had with a stuffed little friend.
Muck and mess make good, clean fun. (Picture book. 4-8)