Thursday, September 05, 2019

Beware! Let's Scare Bear by Yuko Katakawa

Mouse has just poured the green tea, and Spider, Fox, and Snake are assembled inside his hollow tree home to join him for their favorite snack!

Manju cake!

But just as they are about to chow down they hear heavy footsteps.

Bear was passing by!

Suddenly Mouse gets the urge to give big old Bear a scare. Fox gives it his best shot, daring to bare his fangs at the strongest animal in the woods. Bear bares his huge teeth and laughs at fox.

Spider spins his stickiest web, but Bear bats his way through it handily. Snake coils all around Bear, but one flex of his mighty muscles and Bear is free. Mouse's little BOO turns into a squeak when Bear dangles him by his tail and laughs an even bigger laugh.
"Only one thing scares me," said Bear.

The others waited breathlessly.

"Manju cake!" said Bear.

The horror, the very thought of manju, makes Bear, with a shiver and a shake, scuttle away to the safety of his den.

The others look at each other. They know what they have to do!

Giving Bear a few minutes to chill out, they take their whole plate of cakes and ....
They tossed, pitched, heaved, and volleyed all their manju cakes into Bear's cave.

Yuko Katakawa's traditional Japanese tale, Let's Scare Bear (Holiday House, 2019), ends with a few crumbs of the feast, one well-fed Bear, and and lots of laughs. There's nothing so satisfying as a well-paced trickster tale to tickle kid's giggles and give the would-be tricksters their due comeuppance, and Katakawa's charming illustrations tell the story well. Savvy youngsters may even notice the parallel with the American folktale of "The Tar Baby."

Says School Library Journal,"Katakawa makes great use of perspective and movement, encouraging page turns and effectively drawing the eye. . . . the arresting visuals and nicely cadenced text make this an excellent candidate for storytimes."

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