A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows different animals that little kids can name, and shows the rushing river -- and waterfall -- they live by.
Sometimes friends are just around the bend, and you won't be alone anymore. The world is bigger than the part right in front of you. We're all in this together. In author's note at back, Morris writes, "Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to embrace the other, especially when that other is so different. But it is through this connection that we truly discover our best selves -- our strengths, our weaknesses, our fears, our courage. This story says, 'Take a chance!' 'Hop on board!' 'Work together!' 'Trust each other! 'Share the adventure!'" In artist's note, LeUyen Pham writes that "the things that bind us are greater than the things that divide us, and while we are each distinct from one another, with quirks that make us so unique, we're all journeying down the same river together."
Positive Role Models
The fun-loving animals learn abut teamwork and trusting one another, even though they just met.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoony peril as the animals approach and go over the waterfall, but nobody gets hurt.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Richard T. Morris' Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, won a 2020 Caledecott Honor. It follows what happens when Bear falls into the river on a log, then other animals he doesn't know jump on, one by one, as they hurtle toward a waterfall. The underlying sweet message is that we all share this earth and "we're all in this together," and that teaming up with those who are different from you can remind you that the things that bind us are greater than the things that divide us. There's peril when they approach and plummet over the waterfall, but it's treated with humor and nobody gets hurt. Instead, they enjoy the wild ride.
Is It Any Good?
This rollicking animal adventure shows how much you can learn about your world -- and how much fun you can have -- when you go with the flow and team up with new friends. The repetition of "until" keeps the momentum and suspense going: Bear didn't know he was on an adventure until Froggy jumped on, the Turtles didn't know how to enjoy the ride until Beaver showed up, etc. Duck didn't know there was a world to see until they all plummet over a waterfall to a big, glorious pond below.
LeUyen Pham's engaging cartoon-like art underscores the personality and strengths of each animal. And the variation in perspectives -- sometimes from above, sometimes close up, sometimes far away, sometimes in strips like a comic -- keeps readers glued to the action. Author Richard T. Morris' concluding lines are: "So many different animals living their separate lives, but they didn't know they were in it together ... until ... the river came along." In an author's note at the back, he writes, "Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to embrace the other, especially when that other is so different. But it is through this connection that we truly discover our best selves -- our strengths, our weaknesses, our fears, our courage. This story says, 'Take a chance!' 'Hop on board!' 'Work together!' 'Trust each other! 'Share the adventure!'"
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Our Editors Recommend
Caldecott Medal and Honor Books
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