Bear's Winter Party

illus. by Lisa Cinar. 32p. Groundwood. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554988532.
PreS-Gr 2—Bear lives a happy life in the woods, picking berries and fishing in the stream, but he's lonely. The other forest animals are scared of him. "He's so big!" they say to one another. "His teeth are sharp!" As winter approaches, Bear decides to invite the forest creatures to a party. They tentatively approach his den, where Bear welcomes them with treats and tea. As they become more comfortable, they sing and dance together, and they all leave with a hug, telling Bear, "You are a good friend." Bear begins his winter hibernation knowing he'll have friends to be with when he wakes up. The stylized watercolor and pencil illustrations are beautiful and fill the pages with color, patterns, and a sense of movement. The animals are unique-looking and expressive, and their placement enhances the atmosphere of each scene.
VERDICT The story is a tad wordy, with action and emotion spelled out explicitly, yet this is a worthwhile seasonal selection with an emphasis on friendship.

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