Bear Came Along

by Richard T Morris (Author) Leuyen Pham (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A cheerful and action-packed adventure about the importance of friendship and community from a successful author and illustrator duo!

Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn't know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren't any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck.

These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn't know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along.

This hilarious picture book and heartfelt message celebrates the joy and fun that's in store when you embark together on a ride of a lifetime.

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Starred Review
Perfect for listeners in story hours or on laps.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Succession of forest creatures—and even the river itself—learn from one another and validate their relationships with both one another and the wider world.

Horn Book Magazine

This high-spirited tale is a metaphor for life itself, and "Oh, what a ride" it is!"

Publishers Weekly

What begins as a solo log ride down a river for Bear turns into a group adventure as new forest animals join the pileup hurtling through the water. Each has a different approach to the wild ride: the turtles worry about what could go wrong, while the raccoons delight in the "twists and turns." All are surprised, though, when they realize where they're headed: a waterfall, which, after a dramatic plunge, lands them in a calm, communal pool. Text by Morris (Fear the Bunny) bounces along with appealing repetition and rhythm, but it's cleverly designed illustrations by Pham (Stop That Yawn!) that make this offering a standout choice for reading aloud. Varying perspectives amplify both the drama and the humor, particularly in wordless scenes that move from the vertiginous animals'-eye-view to their comically shocked faces to an aerial image that emphasizes how far the drop will be. And the forest's gradual color shifts, from muted grays to the brilliant hues in the final scene, echo the story's underlying message: connecting with others makes life richer, more vibrant, and a lot more fun. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Literary Agency. (June)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2 The dramatic cover, featuring a large hand-lettered title and a close-up of an alarmed-looking bear, sets the stage for a spirited adventure. Venturing out of his cave, a curious bear climbs out on a tree that breaks off and falls into a river. Starting what becomes a natural "log flume" ride, Bear initially moves slowly, picking up Froggy and the Turtles, then a string of various animals. Each creature gains specific knowledge through the quest. Bear doesn't know he was on an adventure until he finds Froggy. Froggy doesn't realize she has friends, until the Turtles join them, etc. Watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations are well-designed to expand the text, using each animal's expressions and body language to convey their individual roles. Front and back end pages both act as maps of the river, but also provide an introduction and an epilogue to the tale. A dramatic spread, positioned from the animals' point of view, shows them on the edge of a precipice about to take the plunge. A page turn shifts to a facing view and all the creatures' wide-eyed expressions. One more turn pulls the focus out to long range, showcasing the river, the drop, and the animals perched precariously. As they fall, however, their expressions are mostly cheerful, then exuberant, ending with "Oh, what a ride!" VERDICT Full of messages about seizing the day and learning from one another, this jaunty tale and its large-scale, immersive pictures expansively invite readers to come along, too.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for Sheep 101:

A B&N Kids Blog Best Picture Book of the Month

Richard T Morris
Richard T. Morris is the author of Sheep 101, This Is a Moose and Bye-Bye, Baby! and a former E.B. White Award Honoree and Midwest Bookseller Choice Award winner. He lives in New Jersey with his family.
New York Times bestselling illustrator and Caldecott Honor winner LeUyen Pham has created over ninety books for children, including Sheep 101, The Princess in Black series with Shannon and Dean Hale, Freckleface Strawberry with Julianne Moore, and her own The Bear Who Wasn't There.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
June 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002030 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Bears
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV002160 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Mammals
JUV041020 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | Boats, Ships, & Underwater Craft
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Forest animals
Caldecott Medal
Honor Book 2020

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