Review of Bear with Me

Bear with MeBear with Me
by Kerascoët; illus. by the authors
Preschool    Random House Studio/Random    40 pp.
6/23    9780593307670    $18.99
Library ed.  9780593307687    $21.99
e-book ed.  9780593307694    $10.99

Husband-and-wife team Kerascoët (I Walk with Vanessa, rev. 1/18) returns with this warm-hearted, affecting gem, wordless save for the rare (but effective) use of the titular phrase. A small child and their stuffed bear have been inseparable since infancy—even a brief laundry-day separation is cause for tears and, after the ordeal, a relief-filled reunion: “Bear with me.” So when it’s time for the first day of school, the child makes every attempt to smuggle the bear along, stuffing it into their backpack and then up their shirt (the text reflecting their determination: “bear. with. me.”)—but each attempt is stymied and off they go, bereft. At school, though, the child is active and engaged. Close observation reveals why: the child finds a way to connect each activity with their beloved companion. They look at a book about bears; play dress-up in a bear costume; and make a painting of the bear. At the end of the school day, they run happily to their parents, painting in hand. “BEAR WITH ME!” The ink and watercolor ­illustrations, mostly vignettes that both progress the action and detail the child-bear friendship, excel at capturing emotion, personality, and occasionally humor.

From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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