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Review: Two More Adventures with the Squat Bears

After their adventures with Goldilocks, the not-so-bright giant-slaying prince, the Seven Squat Bears are ready to get to work on building their own house. But winter is the least of their problems as Puss in Boots, hunger, a magic bean, and a host of princes and princess show up to cause problems for the bears.

The Hunger of the Seven Squat Bears
Emile Bravo
Age Rating: All Ages; Grades 2-5
Yen Press, February 2011, ISBN 978-0-316-08361-4
32 pages, $14.99

Beauty and the Seven Squat Bears
Emile Bravo
Age Rating: All Ages; Grades 2-5
Yen Press, May 2011, ISBN 978-0-316-08362-1
32 pages, $14.99

After I fell in love with the first Squat Bears adventure (Goldilocks and the Seven Squat Bears, reviewed here), I couldn’t wait to read more of Bravo’s silly fairy tale mash-ups. In book two alone he manages to combine Puss in Boots, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood with a nod to Santa Claus and Aesop’s Fables, all in 32 fun pages! Book three likewise combines familiar tales in a new and unique way. Kids will enjoy laughing as the bears attempt to find a prince in order to get rid of Snow White. Bravo’s humor is so delightful that even his gibes at overindulgence of sweets and television are enjoyable, rather than preachy.

Though all the books in the series are shaped like picture books, the humor, especially the visual jokes, can be enjoyed by readers up through fifth grade (as well as adults who are reading this with their children or students!). Bravo’s art is cartoonish in the very best kind of way, so reading his stories feels less like reading a picture book and more like relishing an extended Sunday morning comic strip. He especially has a way with illustrating facial expressions which breathes life into his tales. Combined with a bold, but never garish, color palette and delightfully chunky text bubbles, these elements make the Squat Bears adventures excellent additions to both fairy tale collections and graphic novel ones.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Yen Press.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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