The Bear and the Moon

Chronicle. Sept. 2020. 52p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452171913.
PreS-K–A simple red balloon provokes joy, shock, sadness, and, ultimately, peace in this tone poem to kinship. The titular bear discovers a red balloon and immediately delights in it. “What a nice thing! What a wonderful thing! /What a squishable, huggable thing!” The balloon becomes a companion, and the bear eats, sleeps, and even sits “on the pot” with it. Then, in a playful moment, the balloon suddenly pops. After a period of denial, the bear falls into depression and self-loathing. Only the majesty of the full moon can help soothe the bear into a peaceful sleep, dancing with its beloved balloon in happy memories. Chien works with a primarily red and blue color palette in her mixed media illustrations. The simplicity of the outlines and colors create some truly lovely spreads, and the little bear is a charmer. Through the bear’s expressive face, young children can easily discern and relate to many emotions.
VERDICT Spare text and simple illustration will immerse listeners at story times in this quiet take on love and loss.

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