When You're Scared
by Poulin, Andrée; Joffre, Véronique (ILT)

A young camper's fear of the water is mirrored in the anxieties of a bear cub who reluctantly climbs into a dumpster, looking for food, before becoming trapped and requiring the help of compassionate humans.

In this heartwarming story, a boy and his mom go camping. As the boy experiences different levels of fear, a wild cub simultaneously experiences fear, too, though the circumstances of their fears are different. They come together when the boy takes some trash to the dumpster and is frightened to see a bear standing nearby-the cub is trapped inside the bin and needs help getting out. With a little help from their grownups, both the boy and the bear cub will need to find some courage to conquer their fears. The minimal words on each spread make this ideal for emerging readers, and the scenes in the cut-paper collage artwork, featuring modern, stylized natural shapes against crisp, white backgrounds, will be easy for children to identify and interpret. This approachable story with an outdoorsy theme nicely introduces concepts of both fear and bravery, and the dual perspectives should encourage empathy. A great pairing for François Aubineau and Jérôme Peyrat's On My Mountain (2020). Preschool-Grade 1. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Minimal text and retro illustrations tell the parallel tales of a young boy and a bear cub. Using only nine different words, Poulin's text repeats for both the boy, on a camping trip with his mother, and the bear cub: "He's a little scared" shows the boy on a limb that stretches out over the water, his mother waiting below with outstretched arms. On another spread, the words are illustrated with a bear cub on a similar limb above a dumpster. Following pages show the boy and his mother in their campsite and the cub inside the dumpster; both offspring are eating. Then the boy gets a chore: biking the trash over to the dumpster. "He's very scared" shows the boy furiously pedaling away from the mother bear, who's next to the dumpster where her cub is trapped. The humans return to the dumpster together and place a log inside so the cub can climb out. "No longer scared," mom and son roast marshmallows under the moon, and the bears cuddle together. Joffre's artwork, which appears to be paper collage, visually fills in the rest of the story, and readers can pore over the pages, which teem with details. The colors and style (especially the giant racing stripes on the mustard-colored pickup) lend the whole thing a retro feel that suits. Mother and son present white. Conquering fears, helping others, and perhaps a message about wild animals and human garbage—though almost wordless, this book certainly says a lot. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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