Bear of Trees
In this delightful illustrated story, protagonist Betrees (short for “Bear of the Trees”) must go on an adventure through human territory to rescue her one true love and get her happily-ever-after. The tale starts with Betrees as a young cub, explaining her heritage and how she came to have a unique characteristic: a pure white heart on her forehead, which reflects the kindness of her heart within. The action quickly jumps ahead, however, to Betrees’s adulthood and her determination to find the right bear to fall in love with. This jumpy pacing is characteristic of the book, and the story is rather episodic; one adventure might take just a couple pages before Betrees solves it and is moving on to face another dilemma. While this can make the book feel unfocused at times, it does provide a lot of action and should keep the attention of young readers.
Protagonist Betrees is brave and loyal, ready to stand up for her beliefs and the safety of her friends. Though the plot is largely about her quest to find a romantic partner, she still manages to be fiercely independent and set a great example for readers. She is willing to fight her own battles but also to accept help when offered, making her a great mix of courage and pragmatism.
I do question how much the book will appeal to young readers and how much it will appeal to adults; though the references that may go over the heads of children could make the story more enjoyable for parents and children to read together. For instance, the book refers to one of the bears as a “bear rights activist” (which is not a plot point and never becomes relevant), and it takes on the harassment women might suffer at the hands of overzealous male suitors. There are also some flirtatious lines seemingly aimed at adults. However, such references could be good conversation starters for adults to discuss with children, and young readers will likely enjoy the overarching plot of a bear helping out her true love and some humans she encounters along the way.
The artwork is large and bold, in pastel colors that match the story’s setting in the woods. It creates just the right tone for a story for readers to snuggle into at bedtime.
Bear of the Trees is a fun book about following your course and learning to see the good all around you. It is an excellent choice for young readers who like adventure and animal tales.
|Page Count||64 pages|
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