The Bear Must Go On

Philomel. Feb. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984837479.
PreS-Gr 2–Three woodland creatures want to put on the perfect show. This means they need shiny tickets, sparkly curtains, and birds with tiny hats. Shy Bear is the scribe, taking notes on all the elements of production, happy to stay away from the spotlight. The night of the production, everything is ready to go, but the critters forgot a major detail: They never wrote a script. Bear, a performer at heart, might be able to save the day with an original song, as the show must go on. From the author of I Don’t Want to Be a Frog comes this adorable, theatrical tale of overcoming stage fright. Two squirrels and a rabbit pop off the page, illustrated in bright colors and contrasted with the muted, timid bear, shown with a dainty pencil tucked behind his ear. These little details are what make the illustrations so charming. The exuberant squirrels and rabbit appear all over the page, with large speech bubbles and bolded words, while the bear sits quietly by himself on opposite pages, mirroring the plot of the story and demonstrating to readers that there are different kinds of people in the world and they can work together to make great things happen.
VERDICT This playful and endearing story offers young readers a heartfelt message about collaboration and overcoming fear, making it an excellent choice for most collections.

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