Reviews for Grin and Bear It

Booklist Reviews 2011 July #1
Bear's dream is to make his friends laugh and to tell his jokes on Woodland Stage. He is so nervous in front of an audience, though, that he messes up his act, and the uncluttered pencil-and-watercolor illustrations show him crumpled up and alone after failure. Then he pairs up with Emmy, a tiny, hilarious hummingbird, and when Bear writes the jokes and Emmy tells them onstage, they both get huge applause. From the title on, this simple chapter book is filled with wry wordplay, and the puns pop up in the pictures, too. At a ball game, what is the proper way to hold a bat? By its wings, as the pictures show. What kind of bird works at a construction site? A crane, of course. What do you get when a bear walks through your vegetable garden? Squash! Kids will appreciate the funny scenarios that reflect their own language mix-ups as well as the warm camaraderie among the animal friends. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
"Bear had a make his friends laugh." But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut flops. When hummingbird Emmy finds Bear's joke list, she entertains the crowd; a symbiotic partnership begins. Seven chapters divide the narrative into small segments, while numerous pencil and watercolor illustrations (both full-page and spot art) clarify the action and add depth to characterization. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #5
"Bear had a dream. His dream was to make his friends laugh." But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut appearance on the Woodland Stage flops. Despondent, Bear goes to the local watering hole, orders a root beer, and says to himself: "What's the use? I'll never tell another joke again." But when hummingbird Emmy, a gifted performer but lousy writer, finds Bear's crumpled-up list of jokes, she perceives its comedic genius and regales the crowd with an impromptu performance. Bear's friends, recognizing his work, introduce the two and thus create a symbiotic partnership between two comedians with different skills. There are as many jokes in this book for newly independent readers as small carrots in a class of first graders' lunch boxes, including puns ("What do little girl cubs wear in their hair? Bear-ettes!") and play with multiple-meaning words ("What do you get when a bear walks through your vegetable garden? Squash!") And, like any good joke, several bear repeating, thus speeding up the reading task. Seven chapters divide the narrative into small segments, while the numerous pencil and watercolor illustrations (both full-page and spot art) clarify the action and add depth to characterization. For example, when Bear appears on stage, his deer-in-the-headlights portrait perfectly complements the alliterative text: "His knees knocked. His paws paused. His fur froze." A honey of a book. betty carter Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 June #2

Bear's dreams of being a standup comedian are stymied by his stage fright in this chapter book for new readers.

Bear knows what's funny, from riddles to puns to plays on words, and he longs to make it in the big time at Woodland Stage. When he finally gets his big chance and all his buddies are in the audience to cheer him on, Bear freezes. He mumbles the words to his jokes, flubs the punch lines and eventually runs off the stage and into the forest, humiliated. His dreams crushed, Bear falls asleep in a puddle of his own tears. Lucky for Bear, though, he finds a new dream and some new friends along the way. Landry's droll pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are filled with humorous graphic elements and little details that will encourage children to slow down and enjoy the text and the pictures. The seven very short chapters move along quickly, helping new readers gain confidence. With more words per page than generally seen in an early reader, this is an ideal bridge to slightly more challenging books.

Everyone—Bear, friends and readers—will laugh in the end. (Early reader. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 May #4

The title of Landry's (Space Boy) spry chapter book could easily be a punch line from its protagonist's repertoire of pun-centric jokes. An aspiring stand-up comic, Bear dreams of making his friends laugh (" ‘You're so funny, Bear,' Fawn would call. ‘Great jokes!' Chuck would shout"). He's fine practicing his routine in front of a mirror, but his confidence crumbles whenever he speaks in front of a crowd: "His knees knocked. His paws paused. His fur froze." After much practice, Bear decides he's ready to perform onstage and invites his friends to the show--at which he bungles all his jokes. Mortified, he runs off to the local watering hole, but a hummingbird, also a would-be comedian, finds his discarded sheet of jokes and hatches a plan that will benefit them both. A deft balance of punchy, dialogue-driven text and expressive, appealingly naïf pencil-and-watercolor pictures make this well suited to newly independent readers. With humor and subtlety, Landry's words and art impart a smart message about partnership, ingenuity, and pursuing one's goals. Ages 5-8. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 July

Gr 1-3--All that Bear wants is to make his friends laugh. He decides that he will do a stand-up routine on the local stage. He practices every morning in front of the mirror and finally gains the confidence to book a performance. The only problem is that Bear has stage fright. He ends up feeling humiliated and runs away, only to encounter a little hummingbird that can make his dream come true. The story is divided into seven chapters and has a lot of words on each page. Even fans of Jennifer Jacobson's "Andy Shane" books (Candlewick) or Erica Silverman's "Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa" (Harcourt) may struggle with the text. The concept of having stage fright is something that a lot of children will be able to relate to, but few will be able to solve their problems the way Bear does. The jokes are groaners, similar to the kind you'd find on Popsicle sticks or taffy wrappers, and it's hard to imagine anyone finding them amusing or clever. The illustrations, done in watercolors, are vibrant but not outstanding. Few children will pick this one up for repeated readings.--Lora Van Marel, Orland Park Public Library, IL

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