One bear, one child, lots of adventures. Bear is a Bear is Jonathan Stutzman tapping into the imagination of a child. We see our main character going about daily life and daily play with a giant bear, lovingly tagging along. They make mischief, messes, cry tears, read books, have lots of laughs and love hardily. And one day it is time to say, Goodbye. But it is not the end. Sometime in the not so far-off future, there is another Hello.
The playfulness of Stutzman’s text is captured by illustrator Dan Santat. The story is lighthearted, so images are bright, even the browns. But colors are also cool and pleasant. The details are heavy, but not busy or overwhelming. At first, I did not realize they were Santat illustrations. Yet, once I got into it, and realized it was them, I did start to see the similarities. However, due to this slight difference in their usual style you do not have to be a fan to enjoy the art. Yet, if you are a Santat fan, it is the perfect addition to your collection.
All ages can read this classically feeling, with modern twists and turns, story. This Velveteen Rabbit like story (with a happier ending) is comforting and energizing. You know this friendship story, and once you find out the twist at the end, you know how things will work out, but you also will be introduced to new people, ideas, and feelings.
I did not think I was going to like this book at first, but once finished, I found myself pleasantly surprised and cannot wait for mid-September to start recommending this book “in person.”