From School Library Journal
PreS–This book starts when Bear is a newborn. A page of rhyming couplets describes each year until NOW, the age of five, when the number of things the cub can do expands exponentially. Beginning with milestones such as riding a tricycle at age three or blowing bubbles at four, the list highlighting the childs growing independence and abilities quickly expands to include singing the ABCs, helping carry groceries, and putting on puppet shows. Most of the book is spent on these five-year-old skills, leading up to the first day of kindergarten, when readers turn the final page sideways to see a tall exuberant Bear, a baby no more!!!!! Whereas readers may not do all of the things this highly capable youngster can do, they will certainly identify with the joy and pride, evident on every page, that are a part of accomplishing something new. And with so many milestones included, most readers are bound to recognize themselves in some achievement. This sense of belonging is amplified by the friendly, cheerful art done in bright pastels. Bear is visibly happy, engaged, and supported by family and friends. A sidekick mouse in a ruffled orange dress lends added interest. This is a fun, celebratory story for any child just waiting to go to school.–Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
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PreS-Gr. 2. While Miss B's students are departing kindergarten (see Joseph Slate's Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the Last Day of Kindergarten, on p.105), Kroll's little bear is just beginning the school experience. A double-page spread for each year uses pictures and rhyming text to depict the bear's milestones from birth ("When you were a NEWBORN, you ate, burped, and cried"), until he is finally ready for kindergarten ("You're teaching your best friend the ABC song. / You put back your building blocks where they belong"). The second-person voice personalizes the story, and the soft-edged artwork conveys a cozy charm, with a little gray mouse boosting the toddler's confidence in each scene. The last spread, which opens vertically, shows the bear standing by a growth chart, imagining the adventures awaiting him as the narrator declares, "'Cause now you are FIVE and a baby no more!" Expect requests for reading again. Julie Cummins
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