Bearnard’s Book

Godwin Bks/Holt/. Feb. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627797573.
PreS-Gr 1–At first, Bearnard is thrilled to receive a letter from the Queen of Storybook Land, inviting him to be in a book. The young bear loves the idea of children reading about him and has lots of ideas for his story. The more he thinks about it, however, the more anxious he becomes regarding what will be expected of him, and fear of the unknown begins to overwhelm him. Adults may need to connect references to other “bear” books such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington, and The Three Bears, but even without that context children will laugh and sympathize with Bearnard’s attempts to learn new skills. Gertie, Bearnard’s duck friend, models ways that friends can help each other. She talks to Bearnard, distracts him with other activities, and helps him practice to get ready. The cheerful digital illustrations keep the tone light and include visual references to other stories, as well as a fun cover “meta-illustration” of Bearnard holding Bearnard’s Book.
VERDICT The story’s reassuring message to be yourself because you are enough is presented in a humorous, non-didactic manner.

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