Hillenbrand’s soft earth-toned illustrations give us a sense of a cozy natural setting while his ragged bold lines give Bear a scruffy edge that keeps the story from being overly sweet. They are a perfect match for Pinkwater’s text, which is child-friendly in its predictable and sprightly repetition, with just a tinge of adult humor now and then. All of these ingredients will make it perfect for reading aloud, either to groups or to an audience of one, again and again.
—The Horn Book
A friendly little whodunit results in an unexpected romance between a bear and a bunny… There’s lots to love here.
The bear and the rabbit are very appealing, and the book as a whole begs to be read in storytime, possibly with other tales of unusual friendships.
—School Library Journal
This friendship tale has cozy charm in spades; the gift-exchange plot is sweet, and the bear’s unassuming, childlike dialogue and taste for singing little songs to himself will win young listeners (and remind them of Winnie-the-Pooh).
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The simple story’s design is nicely romanticized, with full-bleed, lightly sketched forest backgrounds spread out over long pages, with the placid action depicted in mixed-media browns and greens with gentle highlights. The book’s Pooh-like charm protects it from preciousness and makes for a tender tale about the satisfaction to be found in a fond, contented relationship.
Extra-special could describe the book itself.
—Kirkus Reviews Children’s Blog