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Bear on a Bike (Bear (Stella Blackstone)) [Board book]
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PreS-Gr 1-A bear takes off to see the world on a variety of vehicles: a bicycle, a raft, a covered wagon, a steam train, a sailboat, a hot-air balloon, a carriage, and a rocket. As each mode of transportation is introduced, a young African-American boy calls out, "Where are you going, bear?/Please wait for me!" The bear takes the child along on his journeys where he discovers exciting animals, people, and places. As the bear blasts off in the rocket, the boy remains behind and calls out, "Wherever you are going, bear,/Goodbye and goodnight!" Despite several awkward rhythms, the story works as a read-aloud. The strength of this book, however, lies in Harter's flat, colorful cartoon art. Black-and-white accents in the cheery, sun-drenched landscapes unite the illustrations and add balance. The bear is depicted as a friendly, caramel-brown creature who comfortably walks through a multicultural world of interesting, jolly people. The playful pictures extend to the endpapers where the various modes of transportation glide across a turquoise background.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY

A youngster hurries to keep up with a bear as he tries out various methods of transportation in Blackstone and Harter's eye-catching paper-over-board book, a companion to their Bear in a Square. Rhythmic quatrains in question-and-answer format establish the momentum for each spread: "Bear on a bike,/ As happy as can be,/ Where are you going, bear?/ Please wait for me!" A child runs after the bear, who answers on the following page: "I'm going to the market,/ Where fruit and flowers are sold,/ Where people buy fresh oranges/ And pots of marigold." A different environment emerges on each spread, whether the busy outdoor market peopled with funny shoppers (like the elderly lady with a rooster on her head) or the teepee-dotted prairie that the bear crosses by covered wagon. The abundance of bright colors and busy patterns is contained by tidy draftsmanship, so that the overall effect is manageably dynamic and frolicsome. This travel primer has plenty of get-up-and-go. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)

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