The news is hot off the press: my dear friend, Bonny Becker, is the proud recipient of this year’s Golden Kite Award (picture book category) for her charming, soon-to-be classic, A Visitor for Bear. Add this to a long list of accolades, including NT Best-Seller list. Did you hear Daniel Pinkwater and Scott Simon read it on NPR? Hilarious!
Since Bonny is in my critique group, I got to hear this story in its early stages. I wish I could say I helped Bonny make this story what it is, but it has been practically perfect in every way from the get-go. If you haven’t read it yet, you are in for a complete treat.
Bear is an irascible old crumudgeon, content to live his solitary life. He keeps others away with a huge “No Visitors” sign on his front door. The sign and his grouchiness work, too, until one day Mouse shows up. Small and gray and bright-eyed, Mouse pops up in the most unlikely places in Bear’s country cottage. By the end of the story, Mouse has not only wiggled out of teapots, drains and drawers, he has wiggled his way into Bear’s heart.
The language alone makes this book well-worth reading (along with warm and humorous illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton), but it is the endearing story of a hard heart softened by friendship that will bring you back to Bear and Mouse time and time again. I think it would’ve been a shoe-in for a Caldecott, had it not been for the fact that the illustrator is Canadian.
Congratulations, Bonny! I hope you can hear my cheering from here!