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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Come Home Already! Written by Jory John and illustrated by Benji Davies. Harper, 2017. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"I'm just so bored!
I wonder what ol' Bear
is doing right this second.
I bet he's having so much
fun without me."

"Ugh. There's got to be
an easier way to set up
a tent. Ah, never mind.
I'll figure it out later.
Time for some fishing."

Duck and Bear are back, and I couldn't be happier! I love reading these books, and kids love hearing them. I was recently reading at a K-8 school that I have been visiting every year for a while. In fact, this year was the tenth anniversary of my first visit there.That means that some of the kids have been there every year since I started. It is lovely to be with them, and hear their comments about years past. When I pulled out this book to read to the grade 7/8 class, there were fond remembrances of the first two books. When I asked for a descriptor for Duck, the answer came quickly ... annoying!

Yep! Duck is annoying. His daily visits to the sedate and solitary Bear next door can certainly cause consternation. Duck doesn't change, and Bear adjusts. So, when Duck makes his daily ebullient trip over for a visit, he is stopped in his tracks by a sign on the door reporting that Bear has gone fishin' and will be back in a week. FISHING! How could Bear go without telling Duck, without asking him along, without considering how lonely Duck will be without his friend.

In the meantime, Bear plods along a forest path to his favorite camping spot, alone and quiet and without his pesky neighbor. He is joyous in the quiet solitude of the woods. Back at Duck's house, Duck is trying to make sense of a day without Bear, and decide what to do. Nothing comes to that will fill the void. He calls loudly for Bear to 'COME HOME ALREADY!'

Bear is beginning to rethink his fishing trip. It's hard to set up his tent, it starts to rain, the fish aren't biting, and he's hungry! With Bear sighing about his troubles, and Duck sighing over his missing friend, Duck makes a decision that is sure to change the trip entirely.

The characters are polar opposites, the drama always perfect for reading aloud, and the expression-filled illustrations laugh-out-loud funny. They perfectly complement the writing and make this a duo readers want to meet again and again. Thanks to Jory John and Benji Davies for perennial favorites!

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