Bear Make Den

illus. by Andrew Joyner. 40p. Candlewick. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690618.
PreS-Gr 1—Bear makes a den, but he's not done yet. With each improvement, he discovers more things that he needs—chairs, a table, a bed, a sofa, lamps, cake, art, a game—and he makes them all. Yet something is still missing: "Den need Bears!" With a quick sign advertising cake and games and a literal shout-out, the den is soon the scene of a happenin' party, and "Den is done." Godwin and Wagner rightfully decided that the book did not need proper grammar. The simple, fun text provides just enough information to let the illustrations really shine. The cartoon bear is the star as he makes, bakes, and sews his den into party-ready shape. Joyner mixes up his use of panels, white space, and full spreads perfectly. As Bear finishes each project, it's easy to see him go from being satisfied to contemplative to decisive as he thinks of one more thing he needs to add. The scene of all the bears in their party finery (with musical instruments) popping out of the woods is priceless.
VERDICT A great read-aloud for maker or friendship storytimes. As each item in the den leads to another, kids will enjoy guessing what's next based on the text and illustrations. Sure to be a popular selection.

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