By Philippe Coudray
Publisher: Toon Books
Format: Hardcover, 6 x9, full color, $12.95
Review by: Katie Monnin
Benjamin Bear is one unique bear, and he's going to be a star. He's witty. He's logical. He thinks outside the box. And he's captured my heart. In fact, I would bet on Benjamin Bear. He's about to capture a lot of hearts in his staring role of Toon Books' latest early reader comic book success.
Endearingly oblivious to his own uniqueness, Benjamin Bear outsmarts not only his friends, but also his readers. Presented with a familiar plethora of life's daily adventures, riddles, and puzzles readers will see themselves reflected in Benjamin Bear. What will he do when he wants to catch a fish, stay warm, or be a good friend? I know what I would do. You know what you would do. But Benjamin Bear has a better answer, every single time.
Benjamin Bear is more than charming and witty, however. He engages and teaches readers problem-solving skills grounded in the core content areas of Science, Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts. How do we think through problems, solve mysteries, reflect on precedents, and rationalize our answers?
Yes, how do we do all of those things? Benjamin Bear has some very, very clever and thoughtful ideas to share with you and your early readers.
In my first draft of this review I ended with that last sentence. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that that was the last thing I wanted to say I couldn't. My conscious kept repeating, "Call Francoise. Tell her how strongly you feel about the educational value of this particular Toon Book."
If I were to place a call to my friend Francoise Mouly (Editorial Director of Toon Books) I would ask her to continue telling the stories of Benjamin Bear. Benjamin Bear feels like a friend, a good friend. He makes me think, sometimes twice. He makes me smile. And I miss him already.