From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreS—Bear has a secret he keeps from readers, but he goes around blabbing it, telling it, and blurting it to all of his animal friends. His secret has something to do with the set of cards and gift-wrapped box he's hiding behind his back. This would be a fun book to share with preschoolers on their birthday because the cub is the center of attention and, at the end of the story, the cards are revealed to spell out "Happy Birthday" and the box to be holding a cake. The cards the animals hold up give youngsters the opportunity to learn letters and colors, and the candles on the cake can be used for counting practice. The story is told in short rhyming sentences of large, colorful, hand-lettered text. The ink and acrylic paint illustrations depict cheerfully clothed animals with expressive faces. Both text and artwork are set against generous white space. Best read one-on-one, this title is a good first purchase for libraries needing picture books on birthdays.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
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Schoenherr’s latest picture book stars a sweet-looking bear resembling Corduroy, only taller, with bigger ears, and in overalls that are actually securely fastened. Told in playful rhymes in big typeface, the text is, notwithstanding the title, all about Bear spilling the beans. On the first pages, Bear is shown trying to hide a big wrapped box behind him. He covers his mouth with his paw as the narrator urges him not to “let it slip.” When he falls down from the effort, the narrator gives in: “Can’t bear it? / Can’t hold it tight? / Need to share it? / Oh . . . all right . . .” From here follows a lively roll call: “Blurt it to Turtle. / Also Baboon. / Blab it to Rabbit. / Alert Raccoon.” Set against white space, Schoenherr’s utterly charming illustrations feature expressive animals in bright polka-dot and striped clothing, listening attentively to bear’s secret. It all leads up to a big happy-birthday message to the reader, but children will want to revisit this more often than once a year. Preschool. --Abby Nolan