Preschool-Kindergarten. Bruce the bear is a grump. He doesn’t like company. Or sunshine. Or rain. What he does like is eggs and finding new fancy ways of preparing them—yes, Bruce has the Internet and a stove. He is a very modern bear. Readers will no doubt start giggling as they see Bruce push his shopping cart through the forest to collect the necessary ingredients—honey straight from the hive (“He liked to support local business”), salmon, and, of course, goose eggs. Having obtained everything he needs, he heads home and gets ready to cook. But, then, wouldn’t you know it? The eggs hatch! This results in the grumpiest Bruce yet, and hilarity ensues as he attempts to get the baby geese, who are convinced he is their mother, to leave him alone. Comic illustrations range from full-page paintings to spot illustrations and panels that combine to show Bruce’s schemes to rid himself of the geese, culminating in a silly but sweet conclusion. This case of mistaken identity will lend itself to a fun-filled storytime.
Grades K-3. In this slithery tale about overcoming fears, a girl with an aversion to snakes has the misfortune of belonging to a snake-loving family. Using knowledge as an antivenin to her phobia, her parents explain how snakes move—giving details about their markings and skin, which is not slimy—and describe how these reptiles use their tongues and eyes. Her brother tries to scare her by relating how snakes capture their prey. In the end, for this youngster, to know them is to “really, really, reeeeealllly LIKE THEM!” Most of the double-page spreads feature pleasant cartoon drawings of the family on the left and realistic drawings of snakes and their distinctive qualities on the right. A different font is used to distinguish the family’s dialogue from the information about the snakes, clearly separating fact from fiction. Although this might not cure ophidiophobia, its duo design will let it slide easily into a storytime setting or into the hands of older readers looking for more detailed information about snakes.