Bigby Bear

tr. from French by Miceal Ogriefa. illus. by Philippe Coudray. 96p. Humanoids. Feb. 2019. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781594658068.
Gr 3–6—In Coudray's newest compendium of comics, Bigby Bear and his forest friends apply scientific, mathematical, and artistic principles as they ask and answer questions about the world around them. Readers may recognize the philosophical and pragmatic Bigby as a close cousin of Benjamin Bear, who appears in a series of early readers also by Coudray. In this longer work, Coudray packs a lot into several single-page comic strips. Many of the panels play with perspective. In one comic, Rabbit asks Bigby to sculpt a human. The result, a stick figure with a spherical head, dots for eyes and a nose, and a straight line for a mouth, is "the most accurate representation of a human face." Bigby and Rabbit use stilts to view the face from above and note that the straight line now appears curved upward in a smile and that it is a frown when seen from below. Bigby concludes that the sphere, like humans, is inclined to look "cheery towards his superiors…and disdainful of his inferiors." The characters, drawing style, and format are similar to those in the "Benjamin Bear" titles, but the vocabulary and philosophical concepts are likely to appeal to more experienced readers.
VERDICT A thoughtful and amusing choice for most elementary comics collections.

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