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Bear Despair (Stories Without Words) Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What’s the real lesson here? Don’t ever take a bear’s teddy bear. He is not going to react well. In this wordless picture book, part of the Stories without Words series, a wily fox snatches a sleeping bear’s purple stuffed toy. Fox is oh so cavalier, tossing the teddy in the air—and so Bear eats the fox. Before the bear can grab the woefully discarded plush, a lion comes along and snatches it up, so it’s bye-bye Lion, and he is swallowed whole. And that’s how it goes, as one animal after the next lands inside the bear’s stomach (which kids get to see in humorous cross-sections). Eventually, once a comrade returns the teddy, the bear, who has grown larger and larger with each consumed animal, essentially hacks everyone up from his belly. Dorémus’ crosshatched illustrations express emotion beautifully, and the story is well paced as a series of varyingly sized vignettes on white pages, much like a storyboard. It’s all pretty funny, and kids may relate to Bear’s primal rage. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ann Kelley

Review

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2012


A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year 2013


★ "A blue bear lies asleep under a tree, clutching a treasured teddy bear. A long-snouted wolf sneaks up, snatches the teddy bear, and runs off with it... There are no tiresome morals about sharing one's belongings or waiting patiently until they are found; Doremus goes straight to the frustration and rage of childhood, laying them out in 32 pages like a brisk session on an analyst's couch." ―STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly


★ "The art is lovely; the crosshatch style and color palette are unique and childlike. Dorémus depicts the animals’ emotions in gorgeous ways, such as the worry in the eyes of Lion when the eggs start hatching or the spread showing Bear under a rain cloud, mourning the loss of his teddy. This charming book is a winner." ―STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal


"There are no words to describe a great bear's heartbreak when a fox swipes his stuffed teddy in Bear Despair, a captivating pictures-only book for all ages by French illustrator Gaëtan Dorémus. Wordless illustrated books necessarily exact an extra measure of concentration from whose who "read" them - there are no sentences, after all, to explain the images - and this one repays the effort in surprising and gratifying ways."― Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal


★ "After his teddy bear is stolen, Bear must go on a quest to get it back―and he's not going to let anyone get in his way! The illustrations in this pictorial narrative are both beautiful and hilarious. It will leave you wondering... what would you do to get your beloved bear back?" ―STARRED REVIEW, Booksmith


"...this bear really devours his enemies... No lessons and no morals are attached―just a screaming childhood id. The bear wants his teddy and will do anything to get it!" ―Anita Silvey, The New York Times

"In this wordless tale, the French illustrator uses a storyboard format of large and small encircled scenes on a white page to tell an energetic and emotional tale. [...] Colorful drawings with overlays of swirling lines sweep by at a fast pace as the action grows increasingly frantic, mirroring Bear’s growing anxiety. A lesson to be learned: don’t mess with the teddy. An imaginative and well-designed chase."― Kirkus Reviews

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Reviewed in Germany on September 18, 2018
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