- Bear Needs Help by Sarah S. Brannen
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-525-51650-7 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-525-51651-4 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R 3-6 yrs
Oh, dear. Our polar bear protagonist finds the shoelaces of one of his four snazzy red sneakers undone. He goes to the seals lounging nearby for help, but they all frantically dive into the sea upon his approach; similarly, the snow rabbits scamper off at his request for assistance, and the lemmings dash away as soon as they see him. Fortunately, some bird friends who are familiar with this apparently recurring problem come to the rescue (“Shoelaces again?”)—but rather than tying his laces they loosen all of the other shoes, allowing bear to shake off his kicks and happily launch himself into the ocean. The twist may confound some more logic-based viewers (where the heck did those shoes come from? Why does this keep happening?), but the silliness will likely win the day and earn a few giggles, especially when kids double back to the first page and view the bear’s expression in a new light. Forms are simple and distinct, with a crisply outlined, rotund bear lumbering through the icy background in his bright red shoes, and the text is minimal as well, allowing audiences to supply their own exclamations for the fleeing animals. Use this to bring some surprising goofiness to a bear-themed or winter-themed storytime.