Monday, September 16, 2019

Review - Bear in Love

Bear in Love
by Sam Loman
Date: 2020
Publisher: Clavis Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Bear loves Squirrel. He brings her all kinds of presents, but he's too shy to knock on her door. Will Squirrel ever know how Bear feels?

Perfect for Valentine's Day! A sweet story about being in love and not having the courage to speak up. For honey-buns ages 4 and up.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm a little conflicted about this one. On the one hand, it's really quite cute and sweet. On the other, it seems weird to be talking about courtship rituals in a book for 4-year-olds.

I think part of the problem is that the synopsis/back blurb made me expect something a bit different. This really isn't a book about being in love. It's simply a story about a bear who wants to show his love for his friend. (The fact that he's shy about it is perhaps the only thing that turns it into a story about a romantic relationship. It's not really explained why he's so shy, though, so I don't know if little kids will really think much of it.)

The story and illustrations are rather cute, if you can ignore the really odd size relationships. (We have a squirrel the size of a bear... which would make the ladybug the size of an actual squirrel. Yikes!) A bear wants to show his love to a squirrel. So he picks some flowers and, too shy to actually give them to her, leaves them on her doorstep with an unsigned card. Squirrel is delighted... but doesn't know where the flowers came from. Meanwhile, Bear hasn't heard from Squirrel, so he wonders if she liked the flowers. He decides to make her some cookies instead. Again, he leaves them by her door and runs away. And so it goes until there's a mishap with a kite and the identity of Squirrel's secret admirer is finally revealed. It's all very innocent. There aren't even any kisses (although there is a hug).

The illustrations (aside from the size issue I mentioned before) are quite cute. There's lots to look at in each illustration, even though the backgrounds are sparse and white. All the bear-themed toys in Bear's room are rather adorable.

I think this book might actually be a bit more appropriate for children if the blurb were changed. As it is, it implies too mature of a theme (i.e., romantic love). The story itself is sweet, though, and a nice example of friends doing sweet things to show their love for one another.

Thank you to NetGalley and Clavis Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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