Review of Grin and Bear It

Grin and Bear It

“Bear had a dream. His dream was to make his friends laugh.” But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut appearance on the Woodland Stage flops. Despondent, Bear goes to the local watering hole, orders a root beer, and says to himself: “What’s the use? I’ll never tell another joke again.” But when hummingbird Emmy, a gifted performer but lousy writer, finds Bear’s crumpled-up list of jokes, she perceives its comedic genius and regales the crowd with an impromptu performance. Bear’s friends, recognizing his work, introduce the two and thus create a symbiotic partnership between two comedians with different skills.

Shake it up

shake and make splash

Night and Day Studios’ new app Shake & Make! ($1.99 in the App Store for iPad and iPhone, ages 8 and up) draws upon artist Ed Emberley’s huge body of collage, doodle, and thumbprint illustrations. A single image (such as a face, animal, or vehicle) appears on a white background with the message “Shake to […]

Review of Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck

With Wonderstruck’s opening wordless sequence of an approaching wolf, readers might think they’ve embarked upon a Gary Paulsen novel, but this is a story not of wilderness adventure but of two young people running—to New York City—for their lives. The pictures (pencil, double-page spread, wordless) follow a young girl, Rose, living in material comfort but also emotional distress in 1927 Hoboken; the text is set in 1977 in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region, where a boy, Ben, struggles with the death of his mother and the loss of his hearing.