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Monday, March 13, 2017

Bear Likes Jam, written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Sometimes Bear even
snuck jam when he knew
he wasn't supposed to.
Mama Duck was worried.
Big bears need a balanced
diet, she said.
So Bear showed her how
well he could balance.
But Mama Duck was firm:
no more jam until Bear
ate his vegetables."

Bear has had other adventures with the Duck family (Room for Bear, 2015; Bear Is Not Tired, 2016).
If you haven't met them yet, you must check them out! They are quite the family, and sure to elicit giggles from their audience.

In this third tale (and before it even begins), we see that Bear is at the grocery store with Mama and the ducklings when he tastes jam for the first time. It's similar to the feeling that my two granddogs had when they tasted bacon! You just can't get enough. Bear knows that feeling immediately, hugging multiple jars to his fairly large chest. He is completely astonished that he has no previous knowledge of JAM. His love for it makes him quite rude - sharing goes out the window and so does listening to Mama. That creates concern.

Mama sets out new rules:

"At dinner, strange green things appeared
on Bear's plate. Bear poked at it.
He piled it.
He flattened it out.
But he was very, very careful not to taste any of it."

Bear longs for jam! Those conniving ducklings use games to help Bear develop a taste for veggies. Soon, he is willing to balance his meals, to the great delight of his duckling siblings - and his mama.

 As in previous books, Ciara Gavin imbues her characters with peaceful cohabitation. She uses ever-changing formats for her images and fills them with humor, love and a very important lesson. Don't miss the endpapers!  

I have great admiration for this unique and loving family! I hope it won't be long until we meet again.

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