- Glad, Glad Bear! by Kimberly Gee
Gee, Kimberly Glad, Glad Bear!; written and illus. by Kimberly Gee. Beach Lane/Simon, 2020 [36p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-5269-5 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-5270-1 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 3-6 yrs
Bear is thrilled at the prospect of his first day of ballet class, and he comes equipped with new leggings, new slippers, and a new tutu. As he arrives at the class, however, he becomes apprehensive ("He feels a little shy. And a little afraid. And a little different"), since the other little bears in class seem to know what they're doing, and he's the only one clutching a comforting toy teddy. Once the music starts, though, Bear gets into the rhythm with everyone else and enjoys himself thoroughly, even dropping his teddy in the process; fortunately, a classmate makes sure he doesn't leave without his toy, and she and he leave the school dancing hand in hand. This is a reassuring treatment of a kid's exploring a new world, and Bear's credible move from anticipation to anxiety is sympathetically depicted; his love for his tutu is matter-of-factly treated, and he fits in nicely with a class whose presentations range from very frilly to stripped down and rugged. The tidy digital art suits the story well, with noteworthy lime green and pinks popping from each page; Bear is adorably curvy, with an oversized head and soft paws. His joy may inspire viewers to pick [End Page 207] up a new dance class, or it may persuade them to embrace their enthusiasm about something they always wanted to do.