Benjamin Bear does everything in his own funny way, whether it's drying dishes on a rabbit’s back or sharing his sweater without taking it off. In this series of gags starring a very loopy bear, Philippe Coudray creates a zany world that makes kids think and solve puzzles, drawing all readers into the game.
Anthropomorphized animals are nothing new in children s literature least of all anthropomorphized bears but the antics of Benjamin Bear feel unique. This French comic book, now translated into English, follows Benjamin Bear through a series of eccentric short stories that each fit one page. Benjamin goes through his life doing things one oughtn t to do but having no understanding of why. For instance, he sees his friend the fox chopping bricks in half, karate style. Benjamin Bear says he can do that, too, but makes the fox chop some more bricks unable to understand that he, Benjamin, ought to be the one chopping the bricks himself. This leads to some silly, lighthearted humor. At other times the comics turn to rumination, as when the bear and the rabbit watch the sun go down together. They light a candle, and it, too, goes out on them, leaving them in darkness. The words are mostly fairly simple, and it s aimed for preschool and above. All of the pictures are in color, and while they re not overly detailed, Coudray is meticulous with background landscape. Ages 4 8.