written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books 8/05/2014
Age 3 to 5 32 pages
“Papa Bear and Little Bear were trying to sleep . . . Suddenly, a case of mistaken identity results in a big adventure for Little Bear, with Papa Bear in pursuit! This sequel to the New York Times Notable Book The Bear’s Song follows the bears from a snowy city to a tropical island where sea-inspired surprises are in store, leading to fun in the sun, a warm reunion, and, finally, the perfect place to sleep!”
“High atop the opera house with snowflakes falling fast, Papa Bear and his cub snuffle their snouts up through the snow.”
Papa Bear decides the rooftop of the opera house is not the best place for he and Little Bear to sleep. They go off in search of a better place to sleep. Papa Bear finds the perfect place among many, many other bears that are already hibernating comfortably. Little does Papa Bear know is that he has chosen a toy store in which to slumber. A little boy takes a liking to Little Bear, adopts him, and off they go to who knows where. Papa Bear awakes from his deep sleep enough to notice Little Bear gone. He grans a scooter and goes in hot pursuit after his cub.
By taxi and train, Little Bear finds himself escorting a young boy who believes Little Bear is his new toy. Now embarking on a cruise ship, Papa Bear will need some wits about him to get on that ship and find his Little Bear. And how Papa Bear gets on the ship is quite ingenious, especially for a bear. But this bear has been finding himself smack in the middle of Benjamin Chaud’s expansive imagination.
The illustrations are amazingly intricate. And Papa Bear is not the only one acting a bit strange around the ship. There is a man swimming, a kid in a pool ring, and even a penguin in what should be chilly waters below the ship. I love Chaud’s illustrations. In Bear’s Song and in I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . Chaud adds details one can easily miss, even after several readings if one does not take the time to scan the pages, taking in the beautiful, and often zany, extra details no one expects.
The story is good—we know Papa Bear and Little Bear reunite—so for me, most of the fun in reading The Bear’s Sea Escape is taking in all the world’s Chaud has created. On each spread, somewhere, you can see, if you look well enough, both Little Bear and his Papa Bear. It is not always easy, nor should it be. But I would much rather hunt for those two adorable, anthropomorphic bears than Waldo any story time. Your child will need patience and focus to spot the two stars. A super sleuth might just find Waldo, wearing his iconic black plastic glasses and striped hat, somewhere on a beginning spread.
Papa Bear continues to chase after Little Bear who is crossing the ocean to a tropical island. Papa Bear hunts high atop the ship and low beneath the sea looking for his cub. Little Bear seems to be enjoying himself and why not? He is on a tropical island! In the middle of winter! What better place for a bear to hibernate than in the cool tropical breezes.
Children who read it The Bear’s Sea Escape will have a feast for their little eyes. The book is taller than most, allowing for large full-spread, mesmerizing illustrations that will look gigantic to some little eyes. Kids will like the funny situations Papa Bear gets into while chasing after Little Bear. He hangs from a crane, dives deep under the sea emerging thin and scraggly (and probably a tad smelly; he is a bear), and he dances in a never-ending Congo line. The ending is sweet and unpredictable.
I love Papa Bear and Little Bear and will devour every adventure they find themselves forced into by Little Bear’s disappearance. Though I wonder, will Papa Bear ever find himself in need of rescuing? Little Bear would find him, but not before strolling, running, and dancing through twelve luscious spreads of art. HOLY
COW BEAR, HE DOES! BEAR IS GONE! in The Bear’s Song.
THE BEAR’S SEA ESCAPE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2012 by Benjamin Chaud. English translation copyright © 2014 by Chronicle Books. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
The Bear’s Sea Escape was first published in 2012, entitled Coquillages et petit ours by French publisher helium. BLOG
Learn more about The Bear’s Sea Escape HERE.
Also by Benjamin Chaud
And in 2015: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School Hardcover – February 24, 2015
Video with Benjamin Chaud : http://www.wat.tv/video/fee-coquillette-mercredi-janvier-1zzgn_2ey1r_.html