The illustrations use shading, line, and speckles over muted browns, blues, and greens, emphasizing characters and sketching their settings. This heartwarming tale can be enjoyed as a simple story or used to talk about identity, relationships, and belonging. Thoughtfully layered and simply sweet.
The rough line work and saturated colors of Bear and his new acquaintances create a cozy sense of familiarity, and layered watercolor washes, splashes of dots, and sharp striated strokes build the backdrop to Bear’s investigations, with occasional inked details accenting otherwise organic shapes. The issue of identity is adorably, if abruptly, resolved when our hero accepts Nelly’s offer to become her bear (thus becoming “the best kind of bear”), and little listeners want to snuggle their own stuffed animals after journeying with Bear.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Barrow’s friendly illustrations, awash in painterly layers, lend each adventure-filled scene a storybooklike enchantment that’s a ready match for Bear’s identity quest.