Kid's Stuff -- Books About Bears
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Wow. Who could have ever imagined there could be so many children's books about bears? And that so many of them could be so good? Yeah, yeah, I know: in reality we are their food... but they look so cute and fuzzy in the books! Any suggestions for books we've missed...?




"Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Bruce Degen
(Simon & Schuster, 1986)

In general, the Jesse Bear series is a little too syrupy for me, verging on the icky-sweet. The writing can also be a little cluttered or awkward. However, it hits a chord with the little ones, and provides a recurrent character for children who enjoy that sort of thing. The artwork is cheerful and packed with cute details and diversions that are fun to talk about, if slightly cluttered at times. This is the first Jesse Bear book, and focusses on the clothes that Jesse puts on at various times of the day -- PJs, outdoor clothes, There's one confusing part where he says he'll "wear" his highchair during lunch -- the passage doesn't make much sense, though I suppose it's meant to be written off as an imaginative, childish flight, but other than that, this volume is nice enough, in an innocuous kind of way. The writing isn't great, nor are the rhymes, but it's still an enjoyable book. (C+)


"How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear?"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Bruce Degen
(Simon & Schuster, 1992)

Not that great. The book's theme is the passing of the calendar year, with signal events or emblematic passtimes depicted in each month -- ringing in New Year's Eve, drawing valentines, flying kites in Spring, etc. The connecting thread is a little hard to track -- for example, why is the emphasis on "today," rather than by month, and why is Jesse "saying" it with various activities? (ie, "I say it with kites today...") The illustrations are engaging, but the text is disjointed and awkward, and difficult to read aloud. Can't say I'd recommend this one. (C-)


"Let's Count It Out, Jesse Bear"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Bruce Degen
(Simon & Schuster, 1996)

A painfully belabored counting book, with no narrative flow and a visual layout and conceptual structure that are difficult to understand. About as much fun as watching paint peel, and fairly ineffective as a teaching tool. At least it didn't work for our family... Anyway, there are a bazillion books that cover the same concepts, oh, so much better. (D)


"What A Scare, Jesse Bear"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Bruce Degen
(Simon & Schuster, 1999)

This is one of the best-written of the Jesse Bear series, with a rhyme pattern that scans easily all the way through and is mostly pretty fun to read. The Halloween-based story is about Jesse's first time going trick-or-treating; the little bear has to work out a few anxieties about scary masks, etc., but it's nothing too heavy, and in the end a good time is had by all. Lots of cute details in the artwork, and if you're headed towards Halloween, this is a pretty good book to help build the excitement. Worth a spin. (C+)


"A Story For Bear"
Written by Dennis Haseley
Illustrated by Jim Lamarche
(Harcourt/Silver Whistle, 2002)

This is kind of an odd one, but it might capture the imagination of bookish, older kids... An adolescent bear cub comes into contact with humans via a woman spending the summer at a cabin in the woods... every day the woman sits out in a lawn chair to read books, and the bear is fascinated by what she is doing. Eventually, she sees him, and gains his trust, inviting the bear to sit at her feet while she reads aloud from the mysterious square things with the strange markings in them. The story is told from the bear's point of view, so we are told that he doesn't understand what the woman is saying, but the bear loves how she says the word, absorbing the emotions even if the words don't mean anything. What's funny about this book is that the bear is presented in a naturalistic manner, as a feral, wild animal, cautious of humans, but consumed by curiosity about what she is doing. Now, of course, if this were really true to life, he would have eaten her long ago, or at least carried her refrigerator off into the forest, but I suppose we can make allowances for poetic license... As it is, it's a nice fable about nature meeting civilization, and a metaphor for how children learn to love books... It doesn't entirely hang together for me, but I'm sure many readers will find it utterly charming. Great artwork, too. (B)


"Kiss Good Night"
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
(Candlewick, 2001)

A delightful book in which we meet little Sam Bear and his mother, who live at the end of idyllic Plum Tree Lane. It's nighttime and they are going through their bedtime ritual, an elaborate process that involves a special kind of tucking in, proper placement of various stuffed animals and lots and lots of kisses. The text has a funny, half-rhymed poetic bounce to it, and the artwork is delightful as well, perfectly capturing the affection and playfulness in this mother-child relationship. Also, since we never see a daddy in any of the Sam Bear books, I guess we can consider them as "single parent" stories as well. Anyway, these are really sweet stories, and have been longtime favorites at our house for a long, long time. Plus, I absolutely adore the artwork -- some of the finest I've seen in any contemporary picturebooks. Highly recommended. (A)


"Don't You Feel Well, Sam?"
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
(Candlewick, 2003)

Aw, poor Sam! He's got a cold, and has to take his cough medicine. Yucky! But after several tries, he steels himself for the blechiness and swallows the goop, and feels better in the morning. Great book to follow these loveable characters, as well as to build or reinforce a positive attitude about taking medicine. My kid cracked up when we read the parts where Sam wouldn't open his mouth... thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard! Recommended. (A)


"You Can Do It, Sam"
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
(Candlewick, 2003)

Sam Bear and his mother have a big, secret project: to wake up at dawn on a snowy morning and bake cakes for everyone in the neighborhood, then leave them on their doorsteps before anybody wakes up. This becomes a story about independence and confidence building when Mom tells Sam to run up the sidewalks by himself and drop the bundles off... Mom gets extra cool points for driving a beat up old GM-style 1940s pickup truck... And, once again, there appears to be no dad to be seen... So more power to Mama Bear! This is cute, and though it's not my favorite in the series, it's still definitely recommended. (A)


"My Bear And Me"
Written by Barbara Maitland
Illustrated by Lisa Flather
(Margaret K. McElderry, 1999)

Sweet and simply written, a brief, non-narrative tale about a little girl who loves her stuffed bear. The text is very basic -- just the girl saying how she goes everywhere and does everything with her bear. No big messages or anything, but any kid who's attached to a stuffed animal or doll will certainly identify with the this book. Oh, plus it's another bear book. We all love bears, right? Yeah, I thought so. (B)


"Lost!"
Written by David McPhail
Drawn by David McPhail
(Little Brown, 1990)

Great book. Really great. I came to this one after flipping over The Puddle (reviewed below) and found it equally enchanting. These are the books that put McPhail on my radar, and though he has a lot of other stories that don't really wow me, these ones do. In Lost, a curious bear climbs into a stalled delivery truck and winds up in New York City. A friendly boy finds the bear, who is confused and scared, and helps him get back to the forest. Their adventure through the city has a deliciously fantastic flavor -- the bear rides in elevators, goes to the park and the library, and while a few people do little doubletakes, for the most part his presence is accepted. The artwork is beautiful, and the tone of the writing is both whimsical and gentle. It's a fun, sweet, perfect story, the kind of book that feels like a timeless classic to me. Highly recommended. (A++)


"Be Gentle"
Written by Virginia Miller
Illustrated by Virginia Miller
(Candlewick, 1997)

A little bear, Bartholemew, is given a kitten to play with, and has to learn how to treat it gently and respectfully. The daddy bear, George repeatedly admonishes the boy, but in a very gentle, loving way. The message is good, and the modeling of behavior -- both for parents and for children -- is wonderful, and the book radiates emotional warmth. It's also a winner, plotwise... My kid asked for this to be read over and over, and it helped her be better with our cats, who are tolerant but wary of her big heavy "hugs." Sweet book -- highly recommended. (A+)


"I Love You Just The Way You Are"
Written by Virginia Miller
Illustrated by Virginia Miller
(Candlewick, 1998)

A little bear named Bartholemew is grumpy and bratty but finally calms down when his dad, George, gives him a big hug and says he's sorry that "Ba" is having a hard day, and that he loves him anyway. The artwork is marvelous, and the nurturing parenting is nicely detailed, but I have to confess that, not having really experienced the "terrible twos" (yet) I felt a little uncomfortable reading this book to my kid, since at this point it seemed to put ideas in her head, rather than help present a solution. (I actually took this one out of circulation rather quickly, preferring to read the companion book, Be Gentle, instead... ) Still, this is a lovely book, and Bartholemew is a bear that you can't help but love. Miller captures childlike wonder and movement with economy and grace. (Note: There's also an omnibus collection of five of the George & Bartholemew stories, but in some of the earlier books in this series, George seems much bossier, and their relationship seems less warm. Depending on where you stand on issues of discipline and authority, you may want to just get the books you like, and avoid ones with problematic themes. For example, I would never read a book to my child where a parental figure yells at their kid to "EAT YOUR DINNER!" Food issues are complicated enough without creating such an oppositional tone to the discussion. But, each to their own, I suppose.) (B)


"Ten Red Apples: A Bartholemew Bear Counting Book"
Written by Virginia Miller
Illustrated by Virginia Miller
(Candlewick, 2002)

A disappointing, clumsily executed counting book in which Bartholemew gathers apples from a tree and makes them into a pie. In addition to the narrative (which is itself clumsy and a little hard to track), there is an unnecessary and rather distracting split-screen sidebar in which a bunch of apples which are not on the tree are to be counted as well. The book is poorly laid out and the material seems forced. Didn't work for me, or my kid. Oh, well. (C-)


"Where Is Little Black Kitten?"
Written by Virginia Miller
Illustrated by Virginia Miller
(Candlewick, 2002)

The sequel to Be Gentle shows Bartholemew searching all through the house to find Little Black Kitten before he can go to bed. A nice lift-the-flap book, although there's not much to the plot (did I mention this was a lift-the-flap book?) and it's mainly engaging because it reintroduces the characters from the earlier, more magical, book. I like it, but my kid got bored with it fairly quickly. (B+)


"Winnie The Pooh"
Written by A. A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
(Dutton, 1926)

Silly Bear! It's amazing how well the Pooh stories stand up, indeed, how much better they are than practically any other children's book ever written. There simply isn't anything else like it -- these are stories, full stories, not picturebooks or board books, that you can read aloud to the smallest child and have them enraptured and enveloped in a world or words. Milne's tone was playful, silly and kind, yet intelligent and deeply nuanced. Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve listening to these books, and I was delighted to find the stories even richer and more rewarding when I was the one reading them aloud to my kid. The characters are all limited and lightly flawed, yet they solve problems, are compassionate and persevere. Pooh is a font of innocence and creativity, of friendship, forgiveness and humility. And the stories themselves, with their wordplay and whimsy are so very, very funny -- visiting Pooh Corner and the Hundred Acre Wood is always an enriching, delightful journey. Now, I'm a Pooh traditionalist: I'm not fond of the Disney adaptations, or of volumes that collect all the Pooh stories together under one cover. There are two Pooh books, Winnie The Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner, and two accompanying books of poems, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, and each volume should be experienced and treasured separately, glowing with its own sense of wonder and completion -- that is the best way to become immersed in the world of Pooh. Each book has its place in the pantheon, its own feel and its own magic, and although publishers seem bound and determined to mash them up together, I recommend you go for the separate volumes. Here's the first... it's a gem. (A++)


"The House At Pooh Corner"
Written by A. A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
(Dutton, 1928)

Now, see, here's the reason why the Bear books should be separate: one is an introduction, and the other is a farewell. House At Pooh Corner is Milne hitting his full stride, with delicious stories in which we are introduced to Tigger, are shown that Tiggers Don't Climb Trees, and a new house is built for Eeyore. There is also a tilt towards closure: we learn that Christopher Robin is going to school now, and see Owl's house blown down, and Piglet's given away. It's the last story, "In Which Christopher Robin and Pooh come to an Enchanted Place, and We Leave Then There," that'll kill you. This is where Christopher Robin says goodbye to Piglet and Pooh -- although he promises to come visit them again, the fact of the matter is that he has grown up, and that his world of fantasy will never be so wonderful and real and full again. What happens to our imaginary playmates when we enter the adult world? How do they feel when we are gone? Where do the dreams we shared with them go? Milne edged his way up to the subject slowly, dropping hints about Christopher Robin's extracurricular activities throughout the series, and when at last he broaches the topic openly, it is devastating, but subtle. Still, if you don't want your children to ask Mommy or Daddy why they're crying, you might want to leave this one alone for a while. Milne also provided an alternate, happier, ending, when Pooh and Piglet move in together. But with Chapter X, he makes it clear: these are the Pooh stories, all the Pooh stories, there will be no more. Doubtless he could have milked it and kept writing about Pooh for decades -- as those who bought the copyright to his work have done -- but he didn't. And that is one reason, a big part of it, why these books aren't just bedtime stories, but literature. The wonder of it is that this is literature that people of all ages, class and cultures can enjoy equally well -- Milne never talks down to his audience, and in his willingness to treat his readers with respect, he crafted some of the finest kid's lit ever made. I keep looking for books that are on an equal par, but I haven't found them yet. (A++)


"Little Bear"
Written by Else Homelund Minarik
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
(Harper Collins, 1960)

Hmmmm. Well, these are the books that made illustrator Maurice Sendak famous... and he certainly infuses the artwork with a richness and lively detail that makes them kinda cool... But, if the truth be told, I'm not really that wild about the series. There's a certain whiff of -- oh, I dunno -- purposeful rule-breaking, a convention-defying oddballishness about these books that makes them less than ideal for reading to small children. It's kind of like the Edward Gorey dark-perspective thing, but less overtly adult-oriented, so you look at these books and still think they're standard-issue kids books. And yet, behind it, there's this Gothic oddness, an unsettling undercurrent that makes me think... Hmmmm: do I really want to read this to my kid? This introductory volume also has a weird dynamic between the Little Bear of the title and his mother, who for some reason seems bent on quelling LB's interest in some imaginative little-kid project he's got going on. I suppose that's what's so weird about it: this supposedly innovative children's book has such a pronounced emphasis on controlling and channelling a child's imagination, telling Little Bear what's "wrong" and "right" in his play. Screw that. If Little Bear wants to fly to the moon, let him fly to the moon. Butt out, Mother Bear! Anyway, these are supposed to be classics, but I guess they aren't so classic for me. The artwork looks great, but it's in the service of a flawed text.
(C+)


"Little Bear's Friend"
Written by Else Homelund Minarik
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
(Harper Collins, 1960)

On the other hand, this one I like! The storyline is fairly conventional, the characters are likeable, the stern parental figures are more in the background. It's a fun book. There are four interconnected chapters, each of which could stand as it's own mini-story, telling the tale of how Little Bear meets his friend Emily, a little human girl who has come to stay in the forest for the summer. Emily and her doll, Lucy, have a few adventures with LB, babysitting some ducklings and going to a Wonderland-ish tea party with the other forest animals... Then, in the final chapter, Emily has to go back home and get ready for a new schoolyear... The hinted-at separation betweenthe worlds of childish play and adult work resonates powerfully in these brief pages, and Little Bear's sorrow is our own. Still, he's able to keep up his friendship with his summertime friend, learning to write and sending Emily a letter, which sweetly closes the book. A friend gave us this book as a birthday gift and they were right: this is the best of the series. Recommended!
(B)


"Little Bear's Visit"
Written by Else Homelund Minarik
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
(Harper Collins, 1961)

The young cub goes to visit his grandparents and they tell him weird stories -- one about a captive robin whose owner (Little Bear's mother, when she was young) loved it enough to set it free, and another about a gnomelike woodland goblin who gets scared by the sound of his own shoes chasing him through the forest. It's too weird and too psychologically fraught for me... Maybe this kind of bent, creepy material plays well for older children, but I wouldn't recommend it for toddlers. It's too hard to track, and the stories just aren't that interesting.
(C-)


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"A Kiss For Little Bear"
Written by Else Homelund Minarik
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
(Harper Collins, 1968)

A goofy tale about a "telephone" game where a kiss is passed from Little Bear's grandmother over to Little Bear, with all the woodland critters acting as intermediaries. The smooch gets stalled when it's passing from one skunk to another; in the end, the skunks hook up and get married... Little Bear sees the skunks and draws a picture of them smooching... I'm not sure what the point of this book was... Maybe some sort of hippie-ish celebration of free love? Also, the artwork seems a bit stiff and formal, even self-congratulatorily clever... I dunno. Didn't really resonate with me.
(C-)


"Backyard Bear"
Written by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Megan Halsey
(Walker & Company, 2006)

The realistic, somewhat sad tale of a young bear cub whose habitat is encroached on by housing construction... The story is told in a simple, straightforward manner from the bear's perspective, following the little nipper through the first two years of its life, as its mother hibernates with it through two winters and teaches it the skills of survival. What she didn't teach the little bear was about backhoes and bulldozers, or to stay out of trash cans when easy eats present themselves. The story ends on a happy-ish note, with animal control coming to take the bear away to a protected wilderness area, where he won't run into humans. This is a good book for teaching ecological values and for explaining about habitat loss and the difficulties of coexisting with wild animals... Small children may be a little troubled by the overall message -- this isn't one of those cute stories where the fuzzy little bear cub has tea parties with its friends -- as well as the point in the story when the mother bear chases her cub away, forcing it to become independent. But for older kids, or children with a strong empathy for nature, this is quite a nice book. The book closes with a brief essay about loss of habitat, and ways that humans living in wilderness areas can minimize potentially dangerous contact with wild bears. (B)


"Oliver Finds His Way"
Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Christopher Denise
(Candlewick, 2002)

A scary subject, dealt with in a reassuring way. Oliver is a little bear cub who strays away from his house, while his Mama hangs out the wash and Dad is raking up leaves. After he dashes past all his familiar landmarks, Oliver realizes he is lost in the woods... and nobody knows where he is! At first he tries crying, but after nothing happens, he lets out a little roar, at first softly and then a bit louder. Finally he roars loud enough that his parents hear and they call for him, allowing Oliver to follow their voices back home, where snuggly hugs await. Oliver's adventure has the elements of fear and loss of control, but the story isn't written in a way that overemphasizes his being frightened. What we see is a small child who realizes he's in danger, but deals with the problem sensibly and calmly... Parents can take the opportunity to lecture ("He shouldn't have run away from his parents, huh?") but the book doesn't do it for you. This is nice, since it gives parents a chance to decide how much of the issue to talk about, and how intensely to deliver the message. Beautiful artwork, too -- gorgeous, large charcoal-and-watercolor paintings that fill each page with soft, autumnal color. Very nice book. (A)


"Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Barbara Firth
(Candlewick, 1988)

I love the "Little Bear" books, but was less than thrilled by this book. Apparently, this was the first volume of the series, introducing us to the whimsically named "Big Bear" and "Little Bear," who live in a snug little cave off in the woods, a cavern filled with comfy chairs, a warm fireplace, and lots of love. What I didn't like about this book was the message, a prolonged exploration of scared-of-the-dark sleep anxieties -- I bought this book sight unseen, based on my delight with the other, later volumes, and was bummed to discover that it was an "issue book," dwelling on problems that we (thankfully) haven't come across yet in our family (and don't want to encourage). Also, the writing is a bit thick and clunky, a repetitive diatribe that sacrifices dramatic grace in favor of getting The Point across. I suppose it's possible we'll need this book later, if our kid does get scared of the dark, but for now it's hidden up on a high shelf, way out of sight. (B)


"Let's Go Home, Little Bear"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Barbara Firth
(Candlewick, 1995)

The two bears are tromping through the snow when Little Bear starts to hear funny sounds. Their journey home is slowed by his half-playful need to stop repeatedly and have Big Bear reassure him that there's nothing scary in the woods. Once again, Big Bear is the model of kindness and compassion, and childhood anxieties are diffused and transformed into a source of delight. The text verges on being cumbersome, but you'll probably wind up liking this book as much as we do. Wonderful artwork: skillfully rendered, the tenderness between the two bears leaps out at you on every page. (A)


"You And Me, Little Bear"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Barbara Firth
(Candlewick, 1998)

One of the best books in this outstanding series... Big Bear is busy with housework and has to balance Little Bear's demands for attention with the need to get the cave clean. Little Bear is so eager to spend time with Big Bear that he tags along and helps with the chores. Later, when the chores are done, the two sit down and read a book together, and Big Bear reassures Little Bear they will always be together, even if sometimes Little Bear will have to be patient and wait for Big Bear to do grown-up things. The physical awkwardness/super-cuteness of small children is perfectly captured in Barbara Firth's artwork; equally charming is the gentle depiction of a parent making space for a small person's needs, including letting the child help out with housework and develop self-esteem and a sense of connection as a result. It's also nice to see such a compassionate, nurturing male figure as this powerful, cuddly papa bear. Highly recommended! (A+)


"Good Job, Little Bear"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Barbara Firth
(Candlewick, 1999)

The perfect introduction to this delightful, gentle, masterful series. Big Bear and Little Bear go for a walk through the woods, and Little Bear tests his own abilities as well as Big Bear's steadfastness and love. In a touching model of parental supportiveness, Big Bear watches patiently as his little boy climbs big rocks and jumps out of trees, helping him when he asks and rescuing him when he really falls down. Then, when Little Bear is discouraged, he encourages him to keep "exploring" and continue their walk through the woods. This is probably the best of the "Little Bear" books, although "You And Me" comes in a close second. And once again, the artwork is a delight: Firth's work really helps make these books magical. (A+)


"Anything For You"
Written by John Wallace
Illustrated by Harry Horse
(Gardener's Books, 2004)

Another bear-book, about a well-behaved little boy bear who cheerfully takes a bath, brushes his teeth gets dressed for bed and falls right asleep, all because he loves his mommy and will do anything to please her. (File that one under the department of wishful thinking!) This is a nice book with good artwork and clear, effective writing. It verges on the icky-sweet, but not so much so that you'd want to gag or anything... It wouldn't take much, though, for a less acquiescent child to see through the story's more propagandistic qualities. Not quite on a par with Martin Waddell's "Little Bear" books, but it's pretty much the same idea, with a warm, loving parent-child relationship. If you're on a bear-book kick, then this would be a nice addition. (B)


"Bear Snores On"
Written by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Margaret K. McElderry, 2002)

A raging winter storm drives a number of small animals into the comfy, cozy cave of a deeply sleeping, hibernating bear. They start a fire, make popcorn and tea and carouse through the evening, while the bear snoozes away... Eventually he wakes up and at first he's upset that they've intruded on his home... Turns out he mostly just felt left out, and when the group's ringleader, a little grey mouse, makes him some food as well, the bear settles right in. The artwork is nice and richly detailed, but what really sets this book apart is the delightful text -- it's clever and playful, and actually rhymes and stays in the meter -- a rarity among children's books, it seems! This book is a lot of fun to read, particularly with built in repetition and numerous opportunities to come up with separate squeakt voices for all the animals. Highly recommended! (A+)


"Bear Wants More"
Written by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Margaret K. McElderry, 2003)

This sequel was disappointing; it tries to keep up the momentum and charm of the first book, but doesn't quite make it, and seems rather strained as a result. Not that I have a problem with authors trying to create a franchise, it's just that the potential to transform the cute little critters of the first book into real characters is squandered here -- they just walk in on cue, say their lines and collect their paychecks. Also, the thing that really bugged me about this book was its premise: that the bear, having been roused from his hibernation, is now ravenously, gluttonously hungry, and can't get enough to eat. Gobble, gobble, munch, munch, munch. I dunno: food issues are just too complex in our wacked-out consumer culture, and parents may wish to be wary of books that may give off weird signals, one way or the other. I read this in the library and decided not to pick it up for my kid... It was a little too iffy plotwise, and seemed to detract from the immense charm of The Bear Snores On. But you can decide for yourself... (C)


"Bear Stays Up For Christmas"
Written by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Margaret K. McElderry, 2004)

Spare me, please. (-)


"Bear's New Friend"
Written by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Margaret K. McElderry, 2006)

Another disappointing sequel. Indeed, this one is much more strained than any of the previous books in the series, hewing closely to the original rhyme scheme and grinding along to first reintroduce each and every one of the animal characters and then to make the plot work. Not much of a plot, either: Bear runs into all his old friends, and then meets one more, new critter -- an owl -- promptly adding him to the "Snores On" menagerie. Okay, sure. Whatever. This just seems way too derivative of the original story, without anything clever or new to add. I can pass on this one. (C-)




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