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Monday, August 12, 2013

Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, a TOON book by Phiippe Coudray. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2011. $6.00 ages 5 and up

"Come look at my boat.

He doesn't look happy!

It's because there's no wind!


Now he's happy!

Oh, that Benjamin Bear...he's a thinker. The humor that is part of each small story assures that this is a book that will have appeal for any reader, in school or not. I love it...and I'm an old(er) woman!!!

Each page encompasses one short story, short on space but surely not short on story. They are funny and subtle, leaving readers oohing with delight at the characters and their antics. It's tough to pick a favorite and mine waver from one reading to the next.

The first time I read it, I loved the moon story. It begins with a crescent moon. Benjamin thinks it must be hungry. Luckily, he is surrounded by a full complement of food which he offers the moon. As the moon eats, it grows rounder and rounder, until fully satiated when it wanders away with a hearty thanks. The next time, it was 'the maze'. Benjamin enters, apple in hand. When he discovers that he is lost, he is thankful for his apple. Of course, eating it might help. Luckily, before that happens, ants come marching into the maze, pick up the apple and show him the way out. I'm not sure about the next time that I read it.

Kids will find joy in reading it repeatedly. They will laugh and want to share what is happening on its pages. They will tell and retell the funny predicaments that seem a natural part of this poor bear's life.

Kids interested in graphic art will study Philippe Courday's style and learn a lot from the way he designs his work using variety in panel sizes and combinations. He tells a lot with expression, action and wonderfully drawn characters and backgrounds. The illustrations use just the right amount of color and detail, not overwhelming the story and creating a comic style that is sure to garner attention and new fans.

Perfect for early and reluctant readers!

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