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Grin and Bear It

Grin and Bear It

by Leo Landry

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Bear dreams of becoming a comedian. His jokes are unbearably funny, and he wants nothing more than to make his friends laugh. But Bear has a problem. He has stage fright.

When Emmy, the comic hummingbird, discovers Bear's jokes, Bear learns that there's more than one way to achieve your dream. Told in seven short chapters.


Bear dreams of becoming a comedian. His jokes are unbearably funny, and he wants nothing more than to make his friends laugh. But Bear has a problem. He has stage fright.

When Emmy, the comic hummingbird, discovers Bear's jokes, Bear learns that there's more than one way to achieve your dream. Told in seven short chapters.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The title of Landry's (Space Boy) spry chapter book could easily be a punch line from its protagonist's repertoire of pun-centric jokes. An aspiring stand-up comic, Bear dreams of making his friends laugh (" ‘You're so funny, Bear,' Fawn would call. ‘Great jokes!' Chuck would shout"). He's fine practicing his routine in front of a mirror, but his confidence crumbles whenever he speaks in front of a crowd: "His knees knocked. His paws paused. His fur froze." After much practice, Bear decides he's ready to perform onstage and invites his friends to the show—at which he bungles all his jokes. Mortified, he runs off to the local watering hole, but a hummingbird, also a would-be comedian, finds his discarded sheet of jokes and hatches a plan that will benefit them both. A deft balance of punchy, dialogue-driven text and expressive, appealingly naïf pencil-and-watercolor pictures make this well suited to newly independent readers. With humor and subtlety, Landry's words and art impart a smart message about partnership, ingenuity, and pursuing one's goals. Ages 5–8. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—All that Bear wants is to make his friends laugh. He decides that he will do a stand-up routine on the local stage. He practices every morning in front of the mirror and finally gains the confidence to book a performance. The only problem is that Bear has stage fright. He ends up feeling humiliated and runs away, only to encounter a little hummingbird that can make his dream come true. The story is divided into seven chapters and has a lot of words on each page. Even fans of Jennifer Jacobson's "Andy Shane" books (Candlewick) or Erica Silverman's "Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa" (Harcourt) may struggle with the text. The concept of having stage fright is something that a lot of children will be able to relate to, but few will be able to solve their problems the way Bear does. The jokes are groaners, similar to the kind you'd find on Popsicle sticks or taffy wrappers, and it's hard to imagine anyone finding them amusing or clever. The illustrations, done in watercolors, are vibrant but not outstanding. Few children will pick this one up for repeated readings.—Lora Van Marel, Orland Park Public Library, IL
From the Publisher
"Everyone—Bear, friends and readers—will laugh in the end."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Kids will appreciate the funny scenarios that reflect their own language mix-ups as well as the warm camaraderie among the animal friends."
—School Library Journal

"A honey of a book."
—The Horn Book Magazine

Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
Bear likes to tell jokes and dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. The problem is that whenever he tries to speak in front of a crowd, he gets nervous. He continues to write new jokes and practice them in front of a mirror. He becomes more confident and decides to ask to perform at the Woodland Stage. He finds out that he can perform on Saturday night, and so he invites all his forest friends to attend. When it is time to perform, he gets so nervous on the stage that he gets his jokes all mixed up and he runs off. At the "local watering hole" where he gets a root beer, he falls asleep. Emmy, a hummingbird, reads his jokes out loud and everyone loves them. Bear wakes up, and she makes an arrangement with him to write jokes about birds. She will then tell his jokes on the stage. She is successful, and Bear gets credit for making his friends laugh after all. This little chapter book is a delightful story for young readers to read independently or for adults to read aloud to younger children. The idea of achieving success at something else when one goal is not quite possible is an important and relevant concept for young children to understand. They can enjoy this story while learning a valuable lesson. Children will also enjoy the question and answer jokes that Bear writes. The pencil and watercolor illustrations appear just right for this gentle and appealing story. Reviewer: Vicki Foote
Kirkus Reviews

Bear's dreams of being a standup comedian are stymied by his stage fright in this chapter book for new readers.

Bear knows what's funny, from riddles to puns to plays on words, and he longs to make it in the big time at Woodland Stage. When he finally gets his big chance and all his buddies are in the audience to cheer him on, Bear freezes. He mumbles the words to his jokes, flubs the punch lines and eventually runs off the stage and into the forest, humiliated. His dreams crushed, Bear falls asleep in a puddle of his own tears. Lucky for Bear, though, he finds a new dream and some new friends along the way. Landry's droll pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are filled with humorous graphic elements and little details that will encourage children to slow down and enjoy the text and the pictures. The seven very short chapters move along quickly, helping new readers gain confidence. With more words per page than generally seen in an early reader, this is an ideal bridge to slightly more challenging books.

Everyone—Bear, friends and readers—will laugh in the end. (Early reader. 5-8)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bear had a dream. His dream was to make his friends laugh. He wanted to tell his jokes on Woodland Stage on a Saturday night. He imagined what his friends would say. "You’re so funny, Bear," Fawn would call.
"Great jokes!" Chuck would shout.
"Who knew our friend Bear was such a comedian?" Bandit would ask. Bear had a problem, though. Whenever he spoke in front of a crowd, he got nervous. His knees knocked. His paws paused. His fur froze. He stuttered and could barely speak.

Meet the Author

Leo Landry is the author/illustrator of several books for children, including Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, and Space Boy. Leo is also the illustrator of Friends and Pals and Brother, Too. He lives in North Easton, Massachusetts.

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