Breaking News: Bear Alert
David Biedrzycki has been creating illustrations for book publishers, advertising agencies, magazines, and design firms since 1980. His art has graced the cover of KidSoft magazine, New England Aquarium billboards and children's software packaging, such as "The Amazon Trail" and "Odell Down Under." His clients include Celestial Seasonings®, After the Fall Juices(tm), IBM, and Newsweek.
- A Junior Library Guild Selection
Curious bears trigger a media frenzy.
It all starts when Jean Louis, the host of the kids' show Our Furry Planet, pokes a sleeping bear. The bear rears up, startled. Jean Louis flees, and the bear's not far behind. He and a pal perch atop the Our Furry Planet truck gleefully, with arms in the air as if riding a roller coaster. Across the bottom of every double-page spread, updates appear in a blue ribbon, just like on the TV news channels. Except here, the updates are dire while the bears are clearly no threat. As people run screaming through the streets, the bears calmly take in the sights. When two terrified kids abandon their toy vehicles, the bears happily jump on. (Mom's so excited to be on television she doesn't notice a thing.) In hats and human clothes, the bears go unnoticed at a department store. (Hysterically, the mail bear's outfit resembles Paddington's, while the female's dress looks an awful lot like the Berenstains' Mother Bear's.) Outside, the bears make a beeline for an ice cream truck, inadvertently interfering with robbers making a getaway. In an instant, the bears go from fugitives to media darlings. Biedrzycki delivers a genuine message with a light touch. His Adobe Photoshop illustrations are bold and playful, appropriately reminiscent of vintage Hanna-Barbera and a good match for the slapstick story.
Fun and topical.
Chaos reigns in this mock televised caper, when a children's nature show called Our Furry Planet is interrupted by a bulletin about two bears on the loose. The brown, cartoonish bears ramble along upright, try out binoculars acquired from the frightened Furry Planet host, and appear oblivious to the panic they cause as they dance in the streets and visit a photo booth. Biedrzycki (Me and My Dragon), whose illustrations call to mind Dan Santat's work in the Oh No! books, composes the landscape-oriented pages as a wide-screen, high-definition news broadcast, complete with man-on-the-scene interviews--a clueless mother is too busy with her phone to notice the bears; a diner cook explains his refusal to serve the "barefoot" bears--a scrolling blue ticker with updates from a "Skycam 3" helicopter, and multiple security videos. Two burglars and their cat take advantage of the fray, as seen on video at a "Paddington's" department store, until the bears accidentally foil the crooks and are deemed heroes. Bear wordplay, puns, and children's book references abound in this romp, which comically exploits our cultures of distraction and surveillance.
School Library Journal
Better suited to individual reading than storytime, this picture book is loaded with comedic touches that make poring over the pages a lot of fun. The text is minimal, only appearing as the recognizable ticker that runs at the bottom of the television screen during cable news programming or in speech balloons over the heads of citizens being interviewed by reporters. The lack of a fully written narrative requires readers to really delve into the art to glean clues to the story line, a wonderful means for deep engagement. Two bears wake from their winter slumber and decide to take a field trip to civilization, having a ball while townsfolk run this way and that in alarm. The illustrations are big, bold, and delightfully busy. As the bears enjoy their outing, a secondary situation develops involving two thieves and a charming feline sidekick. The criminals and critters cross paths in the end, and the wayward bears are feted as heroes for actions that only coincidentally save the day. Kids will love the goofy grown-ups, round-bellied bears, and tiny jokes-like a diner sign advertising porridge "too hot, too cold, or just right"-embedded in the artwork, and they'll enjoy putting together all the rib-tickling pieces of the story on their own.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-742-2 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-628-9 PDF
Page count: 32
11 x 9
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 1. Standards 1-7 and 10.
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 2. Standards 1, 3-7, and 10.