Picture Book Roundup–Beauty and the Squat Bears

Title: Beauty and the Squat Bears by Emile Bravo

Publisher: Yen Press

It’s tough to be a bear, especially a squat bear.  The squat bears just want to be left alone in the forest, but a beautiful princess wanders into their house and disturbs their lives.  Fleeing from her evil stepmother, the princess is looking for a place to hide out, but being a princess, she refuses to help out with chores.  To get rid of the pesky freeloader, the bears decide that they need to find her a prince.  Sending one of the grumbling bears off to find one as quickly as possible, they hope he can locate a prince so they can get on with their lives.

Humorously mashing up several fairy tales, squat bear trudges through the forest in search of his prince.  Instead, he meets a blue bird claiming to be a prince, and the bear is reluctantly sent off on a quest to have the bird restored to his princely form. The book kept me amused, as the poor put upon bear meets one worthless prince after another.  The art is cartoony and whimsical, matching the tone of the bear’s quest perfectly.  The colors are bright and bold, facial expressions are overly exaggerated, and the dialog is clever and snappy.  A fun read for kids and adults alike.

In stores May 2011