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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to BEAR SPOTTING, written by Michelle Robinson and Illustrated by David Roberts. Bloomsbury, Penguin. 2016. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Black bears are dangerous
and BLACK.
Brown bears are dangerous
and BROWN.
Although sometimes brown
bears can be a little BLACK ...
... and black bears can be a
little BROWN. Don't worry.
Chances are you won't even
SEE a bear."

If you find yourself in bear country sometime in the near future, you are going to want advice. I have the perfect narrator for you! This one knows that the explorer is unlikely to see a bear. Not to worry, the adventurer has a notebook with clear images of both black and brown bears. The narrator needs the child to understand that bears, if encountered, can be a real danger. So, it is preferable to know more than what each looks like.

One bear might be mistaken for the other because of variation in coat color. Lo and behold, the child meets up with a bear very early in the walk. The chase is on, and as the adventure unfolds we learn along with the nature lover just what we should be on the lookout for: 

"With a brown bear, the best thing
to do is play dead.

Although to a black bear, that's like
an invitation to dinner.

That would be a good time
to use your pepper spray."

Pepper spray doesn't work. Gum might slow them, but it is no deterrent to their longing for a human snack. Will anything work to distract them? Unexpectedly, yes!

The art is created with pen, ink, colored pencils and watercolor and perfectly balances the humor in the text, while also providing needed and pertinent information on graph paper backgrounds ... very helpful for the target audience. The child is ever hopeful and resourceful, while more than adequately clothed for any situation.

Encourage young listeners to bring their favorite stuffed bear for the reading; they are sure to find comfort here - and some hearty laughs.

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