A Library Book for Bear by Bonnie Becker, illustrated by Kady McDonald Denton. Candlewick, c2014, 2021. 9781536217872
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? This paperback re-issue of a recent classic reminded me of how much I enjoyed this book when it first came out. A grumpy bear has been coaxed by his friend Mouse to visit the library for the first time, even though he already has 7 books and can’t imagine he needs any more. He’s obsessed with pickles and Mouse tries valiantly to find a story with that subject, but with limited success. The best part is when Bear gets noisy, but is enticed into storytime by the tolerant librarian, who happens to be reading a story with a bear…and a treasure…on Pickle Island! The lovely watercolor illustrations fill every page and often spill right across the central gutter. Young readers will enjoy the pointed contrast between Bear’s eyerolls and gruffness and the tiny cheerful Mouse, especially a scene in which they whiz along on Bear’s red roller skates. Although most of the text appears in an easy-to-read light brown serif font (to match Bear’s fur), the text grows larger and bolder as Bear’s voice gains volume. A valuable reminder about how libraries can be a bit intimidating for first-time visitors and I certainly appreciated the calm and welcoming demeanor of the children’s librarian, who is pictured with White skin, a bright green cardigan, and sensible shoes.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Add this to your shelf of read alouds about libraries. It would be a good September option for new library visitors, ages 4-8, possibly coupled with Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. Children who have enjoyed reading the other adventures of Bear and Mouse will welcome the odd couple back for this story.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: September 19, 2021