*Starred Review* Though Bear is much bigger than little Maudie, the girl definitely has the upper hand in their relationship. In the first, and most amusing, of five vignettes introducing the duo, Maudie suggests a bike ride. But first she needs her sunglasses. Then a hat and scarf. And she can’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. Finally, Bear pedals with Maudie on the handlebars while she remarks, “Exercise is good for you.” In the second story, Maudie is comforted (ironically) by Bear after visiting the home of the three bears. In the third, Bear makes Maudie a lovely picnic, followed by the tale of a tiff in the fourth. Finally, Maudie has a story to tell but Bear keeps falling asleep. Here’s what’s wonderful about this book: Maudie, beautifully illustrated by Blackwood, is an utterly realistic Everychild whose concerns center around herself. Readers will know this girl who pushes the limits and expects the adult in her life to comfort, ease the way, and make things right. Bear, the unsung hero, never fails. What’s also special is the evocative art, softly colored with almost indistinct lines, that places Maudie and Bear in an earlier era (save the sunscreen), with Maudie looking a bit like Christopher Robin. What’s not so good is the way Maudie never acknowledges Bear’s efforts. Yes, his stoicism and good nature are part of the point, but parent readers might wish for at least a small thank you. Perhaps they’ll make it a teachable moment as their children pore over a book meant to be read more than once. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper
About the Author
Jan Ormerod has written numerous books for children in Australia and the United Kingdom. She currently lives in Cambridge, England.
Freya Blackwood (www.freyablackwood.net) has illustrated numerous books for children in Australia; this is her fourth book published in the United States. She lives in New South Wales, Australia.