Bear is more than happy to help his friends put on a show—so long as he gets to work behind the scenes! Need hats? Or a curtain? Or shiny tickets? Bear has it covered. However, when the audience takes their seats, Bear’s woodland pals can’t help but feel like they’ve forgotten a very important piece of the production. Can Bear overcome his stage fright to save the day?
Theatre is magic, and author Dev Petty taps into this with an adorable take on the ever-classic ‘Let’s put on a show!’ trope. One rabbit and two squirrels team up with Bear for a theatrical event, with the focus on making it a big, splashy affair. Heavy on dialogue, Petty’s text clips along, emulating the often frenetic energy often found backstage. Expertly, she juxtaposes this against Bear, a calm and cooling force who rests at the heart of the story.
She’s aided by Brandon Todd’s downright charming illustrations. Rich yet somehow never heavy, Todd starts with a softer, almost storybook, palette with splashes of color. But by showtime, as the sun has long set, his spreads becoming darker until the stage pops against a moonlight spotlight. It’s a total joy to look at.
Ultimately, Petty and Todd have crafted a gorgeous book that explores the lengths people, as well as bears, will go to help out a few friends.
Title: The Bear Must Go On
Author: Dev Petty
Illustrator: Brandon Todd
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Classification: Picture Book
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Edelweiss.