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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bear and Bee, written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. Disney *Hyperion, Hachette. 2013. $16.50 ages 3 and up

"Bees are terrible
They are big,
and they have
large teeth,
and they have
sharp claws,
and they never
share their honey!"

It's funny the ideas that small children have about the unknown. It's so interesting to watch them as they discover their world, forming impressions and making their opinions known. In this book about misconception, we meet Bear as he is awakening from a long winter's nap.

The snow has disappeared. Bear dons his favorite red sandals and stretches his bulky body in the spring sunshine. That body is not as bulky as it once was, and Bear is soon feeling hunger pangs. His keen olfactory system senses nearby honey. A bee asks if he would like some.

But, Bear has never seen a bee. He has only heard stories and is not keen to meet one as he knows that that they could not be friends, and that he has a strong dislike for them. His description is frightening. Poor Bee! It could be a disaster.

This bee is pretty savvy, and sees Bear's ignorance of the situation as a perfect invitation to inform and teach. If Bear were to look at the many descriptors he uses when talking about the bee he has never met, he might find that most pertain to himself! Bear's response is immediate and will be hilarious to his audience.

Once the bee clears up any misconception, the story proceeds to a most satisfying ending, literally and figuratively. The two newly acquainted pals find they have much in common, not the least of which is their mutual love of honey!

Sergio Ruzzier uses a palette of blues, greens, and bold yellow to create the engaging spreads that will capture the attention of young readers as this story is shared. His story is spot-on for allowing discussion of fears concerning the unknown. His timing is pitch perfect and offers humor and a winning tale.

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