From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–In their third adventure, Bear and Mole are preparing for an excursion. Mole decides that today is the day to remove the training wheels from his bike. Using a series of two-word sentences packed with vocabulary-stretching verbs (“removed,” “tugged,” “hoisted”), the friends get ready to start out. “Mole kicked off. Bear pushed. Wobble. Wobble. Wobble. Crash. Mole sobbed, ‘I quit.'” With Bear's encouragement, Mole tries again and successfully bikes all the way to their destination, with Bear frantically trying to keep up and all manner of creatures fleeing from Mole's path. Finally, with a crash and a triumphant, “I did it!” they arrive at the Storymobile. Mole's eagerness, safety regimen, and difficulties will be familiar and comforting to beginning cyclists. The broad, soft outlines, expressive characters, and autumnal palette give the story a gentle tone, even when Mole is wildly careening about. Although the process of learning to ride a bike is truncated, the message of not giving up and working at something is an important one, and there is certainly room for more books on the subject.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MNα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Bear and Mole (Kite Day, 2012) are back. This time Mole is ready to take the training wheels off of his bicycle, but he needs some help. And Bear comes through, not just with his brawn but, more important, with encouragement. When Mole is ready to give up, Bear tells him he can do it, and he follows along behind, witnessing chaos turn to success. Hillenbrand’s evocative words summarize the arc of the story, from hoisted, wobble, crash, and sobbed, to encouraged, whooped, whoa, exhaled, hollered, and smile. His large mixed-media illustrations further enhance the drama. Bear and Mole, charming in their simplicity, are the focus of most pages, and their facial expressions highlight their emotional journey. Lots of things go flying—leaves, ducks, even Mole. But Bear is constant in his attendance, and in the end, they all arrive at a happy destination: the Storymobile. A satisfying ending for a very satisfying book. Preschool-Grade 1. --Edie Ching