The Next Door Bear

Overview

New apartment, new neighborhood, new kids.

For Emma, everything is new, new, new—and not very welcoming. When Emma tries to join the kids in running through the sprinklers, no one lets her have a turn. And when she rides the elevator, a honeybee makes an attack on her! Emma has to admit it: She just isn't welcome.

But a lot is in store for Emma when she receives a surprise invitation to tea and honey from an unlikely friend. Is it possible for ...

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Overview

New apartment, new neighborhood, new kids.

For Emma, everything is new, new, new—and not very welcoming. When Emma tries to join the kids in running through the sprinklers, no one lets her have a turn. And when she rides the elevator, a honeybee makes an attack on her! Emma has to admit it: She just isn't welcome.

But a lot is in store for Emma when she receives a surprise invitation to tea and honey from an unlikely friend. Is it possible for one act of kindness to give a little girl the confidence to make herself welcome? In this uplifting story, we find out the answer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In every respect, Emma is the new girl: "Apartment, neighborhood, kids. New, new, new." In fact, her sense of displacement is so acute that Yelchin renders her in pink while the rest of her world is blue. Emma's real problem is that she thinks it's up to the natives to ask her to join in: "They should know I'm new here," she says, standing on the sidelines as they make ecstatic runs through the sprinkler. But thanks to an odd fantasy that involves a bee, a mysterious (and rather trippy) garden, a magical elevator, and a hulking, suit-wearing bear who enjoys both tea and sprinkler dances, Emma learns that with a little effort on her part, she can fit right in. It feels as if Kuryla and Yelchin, in the husband-and-wife team's third collaboration, are trying to channel a little Hayao Miyazaki with this story's dreamy ambiguity, offbeat rhythms, spunky heroine, and enigmatic but well-meaning mentor figure. Kuryla's prose can be overly literal, while Yelchin's crisply inked illustrations slip effortlessly and intriguingly between the real and the imagined. Ages 4–8. (June)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This disjointed story about making friends seems unsure of its message and never comes together. Emma is new in the city and waiting for an invitation to run through the sprinklers. A bee chases her into the elevator where an unexpected rear door opens onto a garden full of flowers, and a huge bear growls at her. Back in the elevator, the bear, now dressed in a suit, joins her, and she apologizes for coming uninvited. She tries again to join the other children, but "it was never her turn." The bear invites her back to the garden where they play in the sprinklers. Emboldened by her time with him, a smile wins her the words: "You're new. You go first." The illustrations effectively convey the emotions of the story. On the initial spreads, the children and backgrounds are in shades of blue and gray, while Emma is clothed in vivid pinks and reds. The garden is a riot of color, but upon Emma's exit, blues and grays take over again. After she befriends the bear, warm colors invade the elevator, and at her ultimate inclusion, the background comes into vivid color. Emma is appealingly portrayed and the children are depicted in constant motion. Unfortunately, the story starts off abruptly, and the reasons for Emma's initial exclusion and ultimate acceptance are unclear. The implication is that politeness and kindness makes friends, but how it works remains murky and is likely to leave young listeners confused.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson Davis
Have you ever moved to a new home? Was it a difficult change or something that came easily and naturally? When Emma moved everything was new, and it was not fun for her. Nobody let her have a turn running through the sprinklers. Then, to make matters worse, she was attacked by a honeybee. Then, something magical happened. The elevator stopped on a floor that was full of flowers. When she investigated, she found that a bear was dipping his paw into a beehive. That first encounter slowly turned into a friendship between Emma and the bear. When she realized how easy it was for her to make a new friend with Mr. Bear she decided she could try to make friends with some of the kids who lived close to her. This is a great book for kids who are moving to a new home because it addresses the issue of being afraid to make new friends, but it also talks about how to go about overcoming the fear and actually making friends. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson Davis
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This disjointed story about making friends seems unsure of its message and never comes together. Emma is new in the city and waiting for an invitation to run through the sprinklers. A bee chases her into the elevator where an unexpected rear door opens onto a garden full of flowers, and a huge bear growls at her. Back in the elevator, the bear, now dressed in a suit, joins her, and she apologizes for coming uninvited. She tries again to join the other children, but "it was never her turn." The bear invites her back to the garden where they play in the sprinklers. Emboldened by her time with him, a smile wins her the words: "You're new. You go first." The illustrations effectively convey the emotions of the story. On the initial spreads, the children and backgrounds are in shades of blue and gray, while Emma is clothed in vivid pinks and reds. The garden is a riot of color, but upon Emma's exit, blues and grays take over again. After she befriends the bear, warm colors invade the elevator, and at her ultimate inclusion, the background comes into vivid color. Emma is appealingly portrayed and the children are depicted in constant motion. Unfortunately, the story starts off abruptly, and the reasons for Emma's initial exclusion and ultimate acceptance are unclear. The implication is that politeness and kindness makes friends, but how it works remains murky and is likely to leave young listeners confused.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Pamela Paul
The book is a bit Hayao Miyazaki-esque in the way magical fancy interrupts an otherwise naturalistic setting; one picture even shows the bear and Emma side by side under umbrellas, in patent homage to My Neighbor Totoro. But who among us wouldn't want a Totoro-like companion to call her own?
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061259258
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Kuryla and Eugene Yelchin stay at home to make picture books for children. All day long Mary writes in her writing studio and Eugene paints in his painting studio. Then they drink tea with honey in their garden. They talk about their sons, Isaac and Ezra, and they talk about books. And this makes them feel cozy and safe. But sometimes they have to leave their house and meet new people. And this is when they often feel like Emma in this book. Mary and Eugene live and work in California.

Mary Kuryla and Eugene Yelchin stay at home to make picture books for children. All day long Mary writes in her writing studio and Eugene paints in his painting studio. Then they drink tea with honey in their garden. They talk about their sons, Isaac and Ezra, and they talk about books. And this makes them feel cozy and safe. But sometimes they have to leave their house and meet new people. And this is when they often feel like Emma in this book. Mary and Eugene live and work in California.

Mary Kuryla and Eugene Yelchin stay at home to make picture books for children. All day long Mary writes in her writing studio and Eugene paints in his painting studio. Then they drink tea with honey in their garden. They talk about their sons, Isaac and Ezra, and they talk about books. And this makes them feel cozy and safe. But sometimes they have to leave their house and meet new people. And this is when they often feel like Emma in this book. Mary and Eugene live and work in California.

Mary Kuryla and Eugene Yelchin stay at home to make picture books for children. All day long Mary writes in her writing studio and Eugene paints in his painting studio. Then they drink tea with honey in their garden. They talk about their sons, Isaac and Ezra, and they talk about books. And this makes them feel cozy and safe. But sometimes they have to leave their house and meet new people. And this is when they often feel like Emma in this book. Mary and Eugene live and work in California.

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