Bearnard Writes a Book

Holt. Feb. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250261458.
Gr 1-2–Bearnard the bear and Gertie the goose return for a second adventure. Bearnard the bear wants to write a book for Gertie, but realizes he doesn’t know how. With Gertie’s encouragement, the friends are off to Storybook Land, where the sentry, a whimsical chipmunk, provides them with a map: the Library for inspiration, then Character City, Setting Village, Problem Plaza, and, finally, the Writer’s Room. Along the way, Gertie opts for the more adventurous choices of dragons, a volcano, and being chased by pirates. Meanwhile, Bearnard sticks to the safer ones of a cute worm, a park, and a broken crayon. Humorous illustrations depict the different elements and choices of writing, while colorful banners provide more direction, such as “Choose a problem for your character to have.” After writing a dull first draft, Bearnard rewrites to produce a more suitable and exciting story for Gertie. The story-within-a-story is shared (indicated with a different font), and Gertie loves it. The cartoon illustrations feature a heavy outline, soft colors, and varied perspectives, while the text primarily consists of friendly dialogue between the two pals. Readers will delight in the details such as Bearnard’s Book appearing on the bookshelf along with a few recognizable characters. Gertie’s inspiration to write poetry may lead to future tales.
VERDICT The encouraging friendship and humorous illustrations are a lively introduction to writing for young readers. Recommended.

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