♦ “Beware a bear…. Beware a bee!” the bee and bear parents caution their children. Descriptive art in a full spread highlights the warning for little bear Abe and little bee Bree with a “buzz” of dashes and swirls. Both young bear and bee ignore their elders and continue innocently on their own, until a chance meeting between the two creates a panicked confrontation and a frenzied, hurtful fight for escape. Dialogue with expressive pen-and-ink and watercolor art reveal the characters’ changing emotions, and beginning readers will find ample opportunity to infer action and understanding of the characters through the art. The confrontation—in which young Bree and Abe progress from ignorance to fear and finally to friendship—emphasizes social emotional learning. VERDICT A suggested first purchase, this title is a strong addition to any picture book collection and an appealing choice for fledgling readers.
—School Library Journal, starred review
The five letters in the title—two vowels and three consonants—spell out all the words necessary to tell the story of two animals usually at odds but who become steadfast friends. A young bumblebee named Bree and a young bear named Abe are each cautioned by their parents to beware the other. Of course, they do not listen to this advice as they are each gathering flowers and have a painful encounter marked with a “RRRRR!” and an “EEEEE!” And it is a somewhat achy meeting at that, with each animal bemoaning its sore “rear” over several pages. Happily, this leads to mutual introductions, and, with the presentation of a flower, an endearing friendship. “Aww….” Day’s watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations present two cuddly critters in a woodland setting with lots of close-ups of their facial expressions. White space effectively showcases the antics of Bree and Abe, allowing readers to easily follow their adventures. Children may enjoy pointing out each of the delimited letters in every word of the tale. A cautionary tale that adults can take on one level but that children will enjoy at its most basic.