CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 13. . . .November 25, 2011
The Sniffles for Bear.
Bonny Becker. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.00.
Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Karyn Miehl
Bear is sick with a cold. Terribly, terribly sick. So sick, in fact, that Mouse has difficulty making Bear feel better. Bear feels so badly that he decides to make a will in the event that his sickness is fatal. After a helping of Mouse's nettle soup and a sleep, Bear wakes up feeling better but finds that Mouse is now ill.
One morning, Bear heard a tap, tap tapping on his front door.
"Cub in!" he rasped.
Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, bustled into Bear's living room. Bear huddled in his chair. Big and brown and sniffly-snouted. He had a terrible cold.
"I am come!" declared Mouse. "Soon you'll be as good as new!"
Bear frowned. Mouse was much too cheerful.
"I am quite ill," Bear reminded him.
"Indeed," said Mouse. "I have just the thing."
With illustrations in ink, watercolour and gouache, this fourth book in the Bear series continues with the consistently portrayed friends. Bear is still grumpy and hard to please, and Mouse remains loyal and persistent, this time in his efforts to cheer up Bear and to make him feel better.
Readers familiar with the previous three Bear and Mouse books will find many recognizable features here. The illustrations are as detailed and expressive as those in the previous books and work well to enhance the text. The speaker tags again use descriptive words (i.e. growled, huffed, murmured, roared, wheezed). Also noticeable throughout the book is the use of italics and the use of different font sizes to indicate, for example, Mouse singing and Bear roaring. All this combines to create unity with the previous three books as these elements flow effortlessly into this latest instalment. Young readers will likely feel comfortable with the author's writing style and the slightly more challenging language used within the book as they will have encountered it before, leading to increased confidence in their reading skills.
The Sniffles for Bear is a very enjoyable and humorous read. Anyone who has been sick with a cold can appreciate the drama Bear creates during his illness.
Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.
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