Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Bears by Meg McKinlay -- ADVISABLE

McKinlay, Meg and Leila Rudge No Bears 32 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2012. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK.

Ella likes a lot of things about the book she's writing. It contains princesses and fairies and castles and a lot of other elements she considers essential to a story. Best of all, it has NO BEARS. But what Ella doesn't notice is that behind each new page she draws, there's a motherly bear gently helping Ella's nice characters succeed and working to vanquish the evil ones.

The fun premise and beautiful, action-packed illustrations make for an enjoyable read, and new details pop out every time I revisit the story. Many kids will have fun pointing out the bear sneaking onto each page, even as Ella declares, once again, that her book doesn't have any bears at all. The bear is never directly acknowledged, which adds to the fun, but younger elementary students may not notice her, and even if they do they may have difficulty understanding the wink-wink-nod-nod joke at the heart of the story. Some explanation from an adult will go a long way to help them understand the humor, however, and the illustrations and protagonist are still enjoyable even if the subtext is lost.

EL-ADVISABLE. Reviewed by: Caryn

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