Friday, October 09, 2015

Afternoon Angling: Bear and Hare Go Fishing by Emily Gravett


Hare? Maybe not so much, as he gives a can of wiggly worms a fishy look.

But Bear presents him with a fitting fishing hat, complete with the traditionally fashionable fishing flies around the crown. There is only one rod, which Bear gaily shoulders and sets of with his fish line trailing right off the page.

Hare, however, is left to schlep the rest of the gear--a net, tackle box, and the picnic basket.

Finally Bear reaches his favorite bank of the lake and rares back for a big cast, hooking Hare's hat on the backlash. Not a fortuitous way to start a fishing expedition.

And Bear's luck is all bad. He snags an indignant frog. Hare busies himself by arranging the gear on the grass and laying out their repast, including a large pink-frosted cake. Now he's bored.

But not for long. Bear hooks something big that bends his rod way down. With an impressive yank, Bear hauls up his catch--a roller skate which lands--right in the mddle of Hare's pink cake.

Things are not going swimmingly. Bear grows bored and begins to nod off. Hare fiddles with some flowers, and tentatively begins a daisy chain to pass the time. Bear dozes off, and Hare's chain grows longer and longer, trailing right into the pond....

And when a giant goldfish decides to sample the dangling daisies, Bear's fishing fortunes change with a splash-bang in Emily Gravett's Bear & Hare Go Fishing (Simon and Schuster, 2015). Gravett wryly portrays the differences in personality in this odd couple of friends and slyly foreshadows the sudden BIG catch in charming illustrations which will draw young readers back to earlier pages for further close examination.

The illustrator's shaggy Bear closely resembles her character in her earlier hit, Orange Pear Apple Bear (Classic Board Books) and bears a beary close resemblance to Bonnie Becker's grumpy bear in A Visitor for Bear (Bear and Mouse), another story of unlikely friendship, with a nod to Lobel's classic couple of friends, in Frog and Toad Are Friends. Gravett's illustrator honors include Britain's Kate Greenaway Prize, the parallel of our Caldecott Award, for her flat-out funny Wolves. Even the copyright page shows off Gravett's creative chops, with the publishing information in very fine print forming the line trailing from Bear's fishing rod.

Emily Gravett is an extraordinarily gifted author-illustrator, and Bear and Hare are a pair made in storybook heaven!

Says School Library Journal, "... Surprisingly simple at first glance, this title is filled to the gills with charm and cleverness."

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