I was thinking this book was a holiday, Christmas story, from the cover. And while it is never mentioned as Christmas, there is an extremely obvious them of the Christ child at the end, going on. Fun illustrations, but the story has some weak moments.
Overall, The Bear and the Star is a sweet story. It is about the spiritual of the season and giving to others. Lola M. Schaefer has clear text, even if some places feel a bit rushed or missing pieces. Bethanne Andersen’s artwork fills in many of these “blank areas.” They are deeply rich in color and details. You should read the illustrations as much as the text. The bold reds were my favorite part, even if sometimes the cardinal’s beaks were a little abstract. That was actually endearing. And while I would not frame the pages, I would certainly purchase greeting cards or other items with her work on it. I would even go looking for other works she has done to compare them and to see if she adapts to the work or has a signature style.
The Christian aspect is not necessarily “in your face” but it is obvious what the Star in the sky represents. With that said, while it best fits the holiday season, it would not be out of place as an anytime read. The Bear and the Star would make a nice baptismal gift or for ages 4 to 8. And of course, I would recommend giving this as a gift to ones Sunday school teacher.