ISBN 978-0-7624-6266-7 $16.99 R 2-5 yrs
Out for a winter stroll, Bear discovers the unconscious Chicken and her hobo pack in the snow. Bear carries Chicken back to his cottage, and after she recovers, wrapped in a blanket by the cozy fire, Bear begins preparations for lunch. Awakening to the sight of Bear’s sharp teeth makes Chicken understandably cautious, and as Bear consults his cookbook, preps the veggies (“CHOP CHOP”), and gets the water boiling in a chicken-sized pot, Chicken loses her nerve and bolts back out into the snow: “Chicken zig-zagged through the trees, but soon Bear closed in on her.” Bear, however, was only trying to return her pole and bundle; he invites her to share rather than to be lunch, and the pair of unlikely best buddies enjoy their vegetable soup. Bear’s rounded, stuffed-toy features will set most viewers’ minds at ease (although his sharp teeth might give them a momentary gasp), and most will sense that Chicken is just being, well, chicken. Even twitchier kids who share Chicken’s fears will be thoroughly disabused of their misplaced apprehension and will likely enjoy a second viewing to see how and where their imaginations went astray. Generously sized characters in simple compositions will show well in a group setting, making this a storytime pleaser, and an easy recipe for vegetable soup will extend the warmth.