I'm always happy to see one of my very favorites literary duos return. I am particularly pleased to see this book has been published in the large picture book version, like A Visitor for Bear. I didn't particularly care for the smaller sized edition of A Birthday for Bear. Bigger is better for this bear, I think.
According to Bear, he doesn't just have the sniffles, like the title suggests. He is dreadfully sick, practically knocking at death's door. Mouse comes over to act as nursemaid, but he's far too cheerful for his sick friend. Bear needs proper sympathy, not uplifting songs and happy stories. Sweet Mouse manages to guide melodramatic Bear into bed, tuck him in, and serves homemade soup that meets with his approval. Bear isn't the jolliest fellow when he is able-bodied, so I can only imagine what poor Mouse is dealing with.
Bear feels so terribly ill that he suggests making a will, just in case. His tiny friend produces a rodent sized pencil and spiral notebook from his bag and they inventory Bear's most important possessions. After that, Bear feels calm enough to take a nap. And when he wakes, he feels worlds better. The same cannot be said for Mouse, who wakes with watery eyes and a very pink nose. It is Bear's turn to return the favor and become the caretaker.
I love the phrases that Becker comes up with. "Mouse looked sad, but his tail didn't." That a really cute way of saying that Mouse is patronizing his friend in a sly way. Bear is so stuffed up, that he calls out "Cub in!" when Mouse raps at the door. I love the mish mash of blankets he has piled on, but none more so than the red and white one he has draped about his head. Most of all, I adore how Bear throws back his head and flutters a paw - a drama queen in a fur suit. Just superb.
Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.