Title: Bear is a Bear
Author: Jonathan Stutzman
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Published By: HarperCollins, 2021
Since it’s November, I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping (I’m a bit late this year, to be honest). I always try and get Karl a gift that he doesn’t expect/that will probably make him cry (happy tears, not tears of bitter disappointment).
This year’s choice was obvious: a Dan Santat book! The perfect gift for anyone!
Okay, fine. So I kind of bought it for myself too. But mostly for Karl!
The book is…well, put it to you this way: I almost ugly-cried at Chapters.
The book follows the story of a little girl’s bond with her teddy bear. As someone who has loved many bears (but one more than all others), I can 100% relate to the deep and important relationship a bear provides. The text is poetic, simple, beautiful. The art is, obviously, the best ever. I read the book for the first time at the store, and it nearly killed me not to openly sob. Then I tried reading it at home, thinking I wouldn’t be so affected the second time.
Yeah, I was. And I have been every time after that. Its emotional impact isn’t lessening, you guys. This is Love You Forever all over again. This is the epilogue to Knuffle Bunny Free on repeat.
This book will always simultaneously bring me tremendous joy and tremendous longing for my children when they were younger.
Gah, this review has taken a turn for the sad. I’m sorry, readers. What I really want you to know about this book is: it’s fantastic. It’s adorable. It’s fabulous. It’s so, so sweet and lovely. And it’s a little bit sad, but also hopeful. It’s basically the perfect book to give to a parent, because it’s really the journey a parent takes. It’s growing up, it’s letting go.
And it’s got a bear.