Me and Mister P

illus. by Daniel Really. 224p. Sky Pony Pr. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781510728608.
Gr 2–5—A suitcase-carrying polar bear arrives on Arthur's doorstep during a moment of anger that his little brother's problems are taking precedence over his, giving Arthur a new focus and eventually teaching him greater acceptance of his role as a big brother. While never directly stated, little brother Liam displays several attributes of autism. The family, who are white and live in the suburbs, take the enormous fish-guzzling animal in stride, and the bear, in turn, provides comic relief at school and on the soccer field. Nearly every page contains whimsical illustrations, font changes for emphasis on various words, or a faux-handwritten diary entry. Some chapters are much longer than others, but each is well-formed around a single, distinct scene. Warm and silly, this is vaguely reminiscent of Michael Bond's "Paddington Bear" books. Some readers will struggle with the very premise of a polar bear—a dangerous and endangered Arctic species—behaving happily and rather doglike among humans in suburbia. But readers who can willingly suspend disbelief and roll with it will find a charming story.
VERDICT A light, engaging read for younger elementary school readers.

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