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Reviewed by:
  • The Bear Must Go On by Dev Petty
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

Petty, Dev The Bear Must Go On; illus. by Brandon Todd. Philomel, 2020 [34p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-984-83747-9 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-984-83748-6 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs

The forest denizens in this picture book are putting on a show, and they insist on the works: costumes, lights, a stage, a glittery curtain, shiny tickets, not to mention birds with tiny hats and a chorus of crickets. Bear's not one for the spotlight, so he offers to take notes as Squirrel, Rabbit, and Other Squirrel plan the big performance. Whistling a cheerful tune, Bear writes down the animals' various demands, helps build the stage, and sets up for opening night, but when the curtain rises, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel realize they never actually came up with any material for the show. Bear, however, has that zippy song he's been singing, and he might be able to save the day if he can overcome his stage fright. While it's a bit disappointing that the book doesn't respect Bear's shy personality, the celebration of his creativity (he wrote the song himself) and his friends' enthusiastic response to his performance successfully relay the message that sharing your talent with others is sometimes worth overcoming your fears. The slick digital art saturates the pages with rich colors and nicely contrasted forms, and Bear is the picture of concentration, with brow furrowed, tongue stuck out, and pencil in hand, while the other animals exuberantly bounce through the pages. Youngsters who find the spotlight too bright might be inspired by Bear's turn on the stage, and show stealers may also reconsider and revalue the contributions of pals who stay behind the scenes. [End Page 221]



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