The New LiBEARian

illus. by Alex Willmore. 32p. Clarion. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544973657. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Dee and the other children are sitting in a cozy library nook waiting for storytime to begin, but the librarian, Ms. Merryweather, is nowhere to be found. After searching a bit, the kids come across giant-size paw prints, a sticky-with-honey desk, some torn-to-pieces pages, and a scruffy-looking critter they assume is a new librarian. With a wordless nod, the ursine individual agrees to read them a story, not about pirates or princesses, but about bears, of course, enthusiastically roaring, growling, and stomping his way through the tale. "EEEEE," the delighted children scream, and ask their storyteller to "Read it again!" When Ms. Merryweather finally appears (she was cleaning up hot lava from a volcano eruption in the Ancient History section), she begins to read "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," only to discover that Baby Bear is missing from the pages. Everything is set to rights and the book ends with the revelation that another literary personage has gone AWOL. The tale is crisply told and the buoyant illustrations, showing library stacks teeming with spinning planets, pirate ships, and imaginary creatures, depict a delightfully anything-can-happen atmosphere.
VERDICT This fun read-aloud celebrates the camaraderie and wonder of sharing stories in a group setting and the power of imagination.

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