A Visitor for Bear is like a mix of the best of Beatrix Potter and Dr. Seuss’ Grinch. Yes, this conjures up an odd mental picture, but trust me: you’ll love it.
Bear does not like visitors. There is a large sign on his door to prove this, “NO visitors allowed.” He is quite happy going about his daily business of making tea, toast and eggs. But one day, there is a tap, tap, tap at the door. When he opens it, there is a mouse, “small, and gray, and bright-eyed.” Thanks to the wonderfully animated watercolor illustrations Mouse looks exactly as described. How could Bear be so cold as to turn him away? After all, Mouse only wants to have a cup of tea. But Bear does, and goes back to his business of making breakfast. This is when Mouse mysteriously pops up for the first time in the kitchen. Bear holds fast to his “NO visitors allowed” policy and throws him out. However, Mouse will not be deterred and shows up in creative places all over the kitchen. After blocking the door and windows, plugging the drain in the bathtub, and stopping up the chimney and still finding Mouse in the teakettle, Bear woefully gives in. He shares a lovely afternoon of cheese, tea, and jokes with Mouse. To wise and knowing adults the moral of this story will be obvious from the beginning: friends are good. Younger readers may take a bit longer to catch on, and will delight in the repetitive nature of the story along the way.
The illustrations perfectly capture the emotions of Bear and Mouse. Bear’s pointed, extended arm showing Mouse to the door proves he is not happy, even without reading the text. The careful sizing of the text serves to make its point as well. When Bear finally gives in by exclaiming, “I am undone,” it is easily three times the size of the regular text. Even beginning readers will know to read this with emphasis. For reading at home or out loud at story time, this book is a gem worth reading over and over.
Check the WRL catalog for A Visitor for Bear