I See You, Sad Bear

Roaring Brook. Jul. 2023. 40p. adapted by . Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250842022.
PreS-Gr 2–Kousky’s latest begins with questions for the bear of the title about why he is so sad. An animal resembling a deer watches the bear and offers multiple possibilities: “Did your ice cream drop on the ground?” “Is today, perhaps, a cold and rainy day?” The deer finally muses, “Maybe there is no reason at all. You are just simply sad.” The deer tries to cheer the bear up by solving those potential problems, e.g., by sharing his ice cream. But, he concludes, “If after all, you feel a little blue, it’s okay...Sometimes I get sad, too.” The illustrations smartly reflect the mood of the story, employing grays and blues when Sad Bear is sad, culminating in a dark cityscape lit only by streetlights and the moon. A cheery yellow dominates when the deer tries to help, though the book ends with the two sitting together in a still dark, though less melancholy skyline setting. Children may latch on to the many other pages focused on the reason for the bear’s sadness and his friend’s attempts to make him happy, rather than the concluding message of the comfort found in sitting with a friend in their sadness.
VERDICT Well-intentioned, but unless it’s shared or used in groups, this is an additional purchase for SEL shelves.

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