Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bear's Scare by Jacob Grant

Bear, a large purple-brown rectangle with staring eyes, is definitely a neatnik. He likes everything just so and he doesn't like sharing his space with anyone except his stuffed toy, Ursa. When Bear finds a spider web... and then another... and another, he freaks out! He goes on a cleaning tear, searching for the spider he is sure is causing rampant destruction in his house. Meanwhile, the spider is quietly pursuing her own business. When Bear's panic causes him to damage his beloved toy, can anyone help him fix Ursa?

Muted colors and bold, broadly drawn shapes remind me of Chris Haughton's artwork, but this has a distinctive, almost modernist flair. Lots of pink and orange hues, and a tidy little spider with a button beret and an affinity for knitting add charm to this story about making new friends - and being flexible.

While I dislike many of the books that suggest solitary and/or introverted characters should change to accommodate their livelier "friends", I didn't get that feel from this at all. While the spider did leave a few webs about, most of the mess comes from Bear's panicked brain and when he slows down a little, he realizes the spider is just like him, enjoying a quiet life, books, and music. The spider also contributes, mending Bear's friend Ursa, instead of their contribution being to "improve" Bear's life by making him change his personality.

Verdict: This quiet story will make children chuckle and adults take a moment to think about how they help children with different personalities interact - as well as remind people to appreciate spiders!

ISBN: 9781681197203; Published June 2018 by Bloomsbury; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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