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Bearly There

No Bears 4No Bears by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Ridge (Candlewick Press, 32 pages, $15.99)

This is a novel children’s book written by Meg McKinlay, and illustrated by Leila Ridge.   It’s about a girl named Ella.   Ella loves books but is tired of reading stories that are filled with bears.   As she says, “I’m tired of bears.   Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS…”   So she designs a story with pretty things, a princess, a castle, a monster and a giant.   Oh, and also a fairy godmother with magical powers that might be needed to save the princess from the monster.

This 32-page Candlewick Press book is wonderfully illustrated, and throws in a lot of cool, sneaky references to well-known children’s tales (young readers will have fun discovering such things as the Owl and the Pussycat).   It’s a great early reader because it includes standard phrases such as Once upon a time, Happily ever after, and The End.   And it’s relaxing and unique especially because there are said to be NO BEARS in it.   Not even one!

Written for readers aged 3 and up, and a few bright 2-year-olds.   Toddlers who love animals will appreciate it; especially as they find that there are actually a few loveable bears hidden in its pages.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

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