Friday, December 30, 2016

Check Out--Please! Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce was a bear who lived with three geese...


Bruce had been a contentedly curmudgeon bachelor bear, until inadvertently a hatch of goslings (at that impressionable age) imprint on him, forcing him to become "Mother Bruce." Raising goslings requires annual migrations southward when Bruce's predilection is to hibernate, but the dour bear does his duty for his brood.

But returning to his beloved den after wintering over at Miami Beach, he finds his home appropriated by a batch of squatter mice who have turned his quaint cave into The North Woods Hotel. His almost-grown goslings cheerfully become bellhops, but Bruce is not a happy camper in his own home.

One guest, a beaver, has his own dining table, which he is cheerfully chewing to shreds. Bruce finds his own bedroom and bed already full--with a moose, raccoon, bunny, three turtles, and a porcupine reclining there. One of his bedmates demands a glass of water, one wants to snuggle, and the turtle in the middle anxiously makes an announcement:

"I have to pee!"

It was a long night.

Morning finds a frog in Bruce's toilet and an aproned Chef Fox in the kitchen, trying to coax the turtles into a steaming tureen as the soup course for dinner.

And then the tour bus full of elephants (and their trunks) arrives, and they all have reservations!

His little liveried goslings rush out to take their luggage.

This was the last straw!

With a ROAR Bruce clears the place, with the interloping critters running for the tall timber, followed by the would-be hotelier mice, Peace and quiet reign inside as rain begins to pour outside. Bruce's goslings softly honk sadly as they watch the mice getting soaked as they seek shelter under an evergreen.

Will "Mother" Bruce relent? The goslings already know that crabby Bruce is an old softie, in Ryan T. Higgins' Hotel Bruce (Hyperion Books, 2016). In this sequel to his hit, Mother Bruce, Higgins brings back his bad-tempered bear in another picture book filled with illustrations loaded with sight gags and the sweet silliness of a grumpy bear who finds his den as full as the old woman who lived in a shoe. "A merry, witty celebration of chaos and grumpiness," rejoices Kirkus Reviews.

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