The Bear Who Wasn’t There

This is a laugh out loud story that is missing its main character! Will bear every show up?

Picture book, fiction, humorous
Interest Level: K-3; Reading Level: 1.5
5 out of 5 stars


Spoiler alert! The duck on the cover tips off readers to the whole problem in this story — the bear, who is the main character, never shows up. So how can this book be successful? LeUyen Pham has crafted an adorable menagerie of characters that help the reader look for the elusive bear.

The story begins on the cover with the title, The Bear Who Wasn’t There, and a duck announcing that the bear never shows up. Then the story is carried through on every page that follows, including the endpapers inside the covers, and the title page.

The reader and characters in the story break through the fourth wall and work together (most of the time) to try to find the bear. A jealous duck has recently written his own book, The Duck Who Showed Up and works very hard to convince the reader that his story is the one to read…who needs a bear anyway?!

The story abounds in word play and humorous situations. As the reader turns the page and enters a room with a sign guaranteeing the bear is inside, we discover instead that a prankster mouse is playing a trick on a giraffe on the toilet, who happens to be reading the duck’s book.
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The author/illustrator herself even makes an appearance and tries to find bear. The story follows the bear’s footprints all the way to the back endpapers.

This book is delightful and would make an excellent and fun read-aloud.


The Bear Who Wasn’t There
by LeUyen Pham
Roaring Brook Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-59643-970-2

A Pig, a Fox, and a Box

This is a humorous book for beginning independent readers.

A Pig, a Fox, and a Box
by Jonathan Fenske
Penguin Young Readers, 2015
ISBN 978-0-448-48511-9
Beginning reader, humorous
30 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
Interest Level: K-3; Reading Lvl: 1.1
Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor, 2016
5 out of 5 stars


This book features two friends, Fox and Pig. The story is divided into three independent parts, that build on each other. Each part begins with the same repetition:

I am Fox.
I am Pig.
I am little.
I am big.

At this point the reader discovers that Fox likes to play tricks on Pig. But much like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, things don’t turn out well for poor Fox.

Children will love the humor and recognize the irony of Fox always getting injured by his pranks. They will especially enjoy his growing collections of bandages and scrapes as they go to each subsequent part.
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The simple, repetitive language is used in a rhyme scheme that makes the story delightful to read. I especially like the humor and storyline that does not try to condescend to young beginning readers.

Fans of Elephant & Piggie, or who enjoy funny stories will enjoy A Pig, a Fox, and a Box.