Parents' Guide to

Bear Came Along

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Bear finds he's not alone in fun, eye-opening adventure.

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Is It Any Good?

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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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