What a delightful book by two terrifically talented young women! Brave Bitsy and the Bear is written by Angela McAllister, who has penned more than 30 titles for children (including
Barkus, Sly and The Golden Egg), and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, who also has many credits to her name, including
Wish, Change, Friend and Iím Going to Grandmaís. McAllister and Beeke both live with their respective husbands and two children in England. The book was first published in the United Kingdom in 2004.
A lost toy rabbit, Bitsy (a little bit of a lavender
thing in a blue and white striped t-shirt), and a real (huge
by comparison) brown bear find each other and remain
friends. The rabbit even saves the much larger animalís
life, with the help of other forest creatures. The book is
about friendship, about interspecies (intercultural)
relationships, courage, and community pulling together to help each other. Music is also important in this story.
The illustrations are whimsical and charming, slightly Impressionistic. I especially love the smaller ones done within circles. The book is sturdy, with a reinforced binding, and is immensely appealing. Brave Bitsy and the Bear is most appropriate for ages three to five year olds, but a lot of adults will love it, too. Messages about the importance of friendship, tolerance and community benefit us all.