Bearnard’s Book (Deborah Underwood)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bearnard’s Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Misa Saburi, an adorable story of friendship and courage.

While relaxing under a tree one day, Bearnard gets a notice from the Queen of Storybook Land: he has been chosen to star in his very own book! Bearnard is elated – he’s always wanted his own book, one for children to read and enjoy at home or in school; where he can be anything he wants, from a brave knight to a superhero. He proudly tells his friend Gertrude the goose, who is happy for him. However, as Bearnard begins to research other bear books, he begins to question if he has the right stuff to star in his own. Attempting to emulate great bears of literature, he tries to float in an umbrella (resulting in four broken umbrellas), eat marmalade and make a mess (he’s great at the marmalade, but too neat for mess-making), and so on. With each failure to copy the better-known bears, he grows more discouraged – can he really star in his own book? But Gertrude is there to point out that he just needs to be himself: someone who is brave, kind, and a good friend.

Lovely! With a sweet and gentle storybook rhythm, thoroughly charming art, and some delightful Easter eggs and nods to classic kidlit, this was a wonderful little read. The lessons are timeless and perfect: it’s brave to try new things, it’s okay to be yourself, friends support and encourage each other. Bearnard and Gertrude’s friendship is especially adorable, displaying a real sense of dimension in their dynamic. The art has a classic, warm look that is modern enough to be fresh but classic enough to be timeless – a wonderful balance. The length was great, and JJ loved it. A sweet and comforting read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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