FICTION

A Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting

illus. by David Roberts. 32p. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681190266.
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K-Gr 2—Robinson, author of How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth (Holt, 2014) and What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot (Dial, 2012), returns with another farcical how-to guide for young readers. This time, the narrator tells a young child on a nature walk about the differences between black and brown bears and what one should do if one actually sees a bear. Advice ranges from playing dead to backing away to using pepper spray. However, as in the author's previous books, some small snafu causes the advice to be ineffective and the situation to escalate. When the narrator is giving information or instructions, Roberts's illustrations are in black and brown on graph paper, faux sketchbook-style. When the child interacts with the narrator or bears, illustrations are in color on a solid white background. The style effectively separates the instruction from the action.
VERDICT The layout and humor make this a good read-aloud choice for the older picture book crowd.

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