- Something’s Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear by Jory John
Trade ed. ISBN 9780374313883 $18.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4–8 yrs
When Jeff the bear heads into the forest for a morning stroll, he can’t shake the feeling that something is off, and every new encounter he has with a woodland denizen becomes ramps up his anxiety. He heads to his friend Anders’ home, where his pal informs Jeff that he has left the house in his underpants. Of course, the joke [End Page 300] here is not that Jeff has forgotten his pants but that he’s a bear wearing underwear, a bit of subversion that young viewers will likely key onto when the other animals repeatedly break the fourth wall to ask “Why is that bear wearing underwear?” Bear’s rambling makes the story a bit text heavy, but Anders the hare is terrifically amusing as the droll friend who breaks the news to Jeff and who rustles up his own underwear in solidarity with Jeff, starting a new forest trend. Block-print illustrations offer intricate lines and textures, and the solid, grounded art offers an effective steadiness in the face of Jeff ’s increasing panic. This could be paired with any number of underwear books, or it could just serve as a reminder that the best kind of friend always has your back.