Book: A Library Book for Bear (Bear and Mouse)
Author: Bonny Becker
Illustrator: Kady MacDonald Denton
Age Range: 3-7
I love Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton's Bear and Mouse books (starting with A Visitor for Bear). And I love libraries. So when I learned that A Library Book for Bear had been published, I simply had to buy it. For my daughter, ostensibly, but really for myself. In this installment, the ever-energetic Mouse is determined to take his set-in-his-ways friend Bear on this first-ever visit to the library. Bear resists, certain that he has enough books, but eventually does learn that the library has the right book for everyone.
Reading the start of this book was like visiting an old friend:
"Bear had never been to the library.
He had seven very nice books at home:
three about kings and queens, three about honeybees,
and one about pickles.
Bear was quite sure he had
all the books he would ever need."
That's Bear for you. And I love the whimsy in the fact that he likes books about pickles, of all things. Here's a snippet:
"In the library were ore books than Bear had ever thought there could be.
He quickly found a tucked-away corner. But even here, there were lots and lots of books.
"Hmmph! Terrible extravagant!" Bear's voice was a little loud.
"I shall find you the perfect one," Mouse said quietly in his library voice.
"One about pickles," commanded Bear. After all, he only had one of those."
As in the other books of the series, Bear's voice gets louder and louder as he gets upset (in this case, about not finding the right book, and then about wanting other people to be quiet, so that he can hear storytime properly). I love the vocabulary that Becker drops iinto the book, too: "whisked away", "extravagant", and "cluster", to name a few. Both the word choice and the varying tones and degrees of voice make A Library Book for Bear fun to read aloud.
I would know Denton's watercolor and ink illustrations anywhere. The slightly muted tones of her color palette are soothing, and she perfectly conveys both Bear's grouchiness and Mouse's optimism. The librarian (a minor character) bears a strong resemblance to the girl from Liz Garton Scanlon's The Good-Pie Party. There's also a lovely fall scene in which we see swirling foliage as a stiff, angry Bear and a joyous Mouse are on the way to the library.
A Library Book for Bear is a welcome addition to our picture book collection: beautiful to look at, enjoyable to read aloud, and celebrating the power of libraries to help even the pickiest reader.
Publisher: Candlewick Press (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Source of Book: Bought it
© 2015 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon and iBooks affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).