Bear with me

­Random House Studio. Jun. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593307670.
PreS-Gr 1–The duo known as Kerascoët once again demonstrates their skill at visual storytelling. This time, they tackle the first day of school—and the difficulty of having to leave a favorite stuffed friend at home. The opening spreads depict a baby growing into a toddler, who grows very attached to a certain teddy bear. When the bear must be washed, a tantrum results; when the first day of school arrives, the child tries (unsuccessfully) to bring the bear along, first in their backpack and then under their shirt. Once at school, the child is at first shy and uncertain, but before long finds a friend and a number of creative ways to keep their beloved bear present after all. At the end of the school day, child and bear are lovingly reunited. The book is largely wordless, with the title repeated as an occasional refrain and changing in tone throughout. The hand-lettered text communicates as much as the utterly charming ink and watercolor illustrations. The art is warm and joyful and filled with details that young readers will delight in noticing and sharing. The protagonist and their family present as white; the child’s classmates are illustrated in a variety of skin tones.
VERDICT This sweet story is a lovely choice for all collections serving young readers and their families. Recommended.

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