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When you're scared
2019
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Summary
It's a bright and beautiful day at the lake where a boy and his mother are camping. The boy is just a little scared of jumping into the water. At the same time, not too far away, a hungry bear cub is a little scared of diving deep into a dumpster, where tasty snacks await.

Later, when the boy encounters a distraught mama bear sniffing around the dumpster, he's very scared. But so is her bear cub, who is trapped inside! Bold, graphic artwork moves the narrative along in this mostly-wordless book full of sound effects and simple variations on a single phrase full of so many meanings ("He was scared"). Parallel stories of the mother and son, and mama and cub, come together when the campers, despite being scared, help rescue the cub from the dumpster.

This simple, moving story invites readers to observe expressions, body language, and details hidden in the illustrations to follow the narrative. It's a sweet summer read that normalizes fear and encourages acting with courage and compassion--even when you're scared.
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School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1-An outdoors jaunt in the vein of Blueberries for Sal. A boy and his mother are car camping in the woods. Once their tent is set up, the two enjoy nature. The boy is scared to jump into the lake. Meanwhile, a bear cub is afraid to jump into a campground dumpster to rummage for food. They both make the leap. When the boy takes trash to the dumpster, the anxious mama bear is there to help her cub who is stuck in the dumpster. The campers devise a plan to stick a log into the dumpster for the cub to crawl out. The plan works. The premise throughout the book is that both sets of mother and child push past their fear and succeed at the task at hand. The artistry of Joffre's cut and painted paper collage illustrations gives the book some distinction. Textures, bright colors, details, and creative attention to perspective provide readers something interesting to see with every turn of the page. The prose, while very spare, can read as an unnecessary addition. VERDICT Relevant issues, such as emotional resilience, good stewardship, and challenging oneself, together with the thoughtful illustrations, make this a worthy purchase for libraries.-Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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