I’ve been following Philip Stead’s blog for a while now, and I must say I really love it. He has wonderful taste in children’s books, and I’ve posted quite a few of his favorites without really giving him the proper attribution. Philip Stead, by the way, wrote A Home for Bird, and his wife did the incredible If You Want to see a Whale.
Philip Stead did a wonderful write-up of Bear and Bee. Here’s an excerpt that makes you want to run out and get the book.
I don’t think I would have noticed the humor here unless it was pointed out to me, but the longer I look at this spread the funnier it seems. And Philip Stead is right in saying the characters are instantly real and believable. Just look at the expression on Bear’s face up there. Remember how scared we were of bees when we were little? I can still hear my grandmother yelling at me in her throaty voice, “Who’s bigger — you or the bee?”
The book is a little on the young side for my son, who is six. I’d be more inclined to pass it around to the three or four-year-old set, but Ray liked it anyway, and the twins, who are two, loved it. This whole story is really just a conversation. It feels ridiculous writing about the book this way, so I’ll include a little of the text, which is understated and funny.
“You are big,” says Bee.
“Mm-hmm,” says Bear.
“You have large teeth,” says Bee.
“Uh-huh,” says Bear.
“You have sharp claws,” says Bee.
“Uh-oh,” says Bear.
“I AM A BEE!”
I like how Bee sort of takes charge in this one and in the end is a very nice person. Bear is just a little kid, really. You have to love his sandals, too. ABZ