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Bruno and the Bees

by Sylvie Daigneault

The misadventures of a goodhearted but greedy bear cub – a fuzzy innocent in a world full of temptations and hazards – have long been a popular subject in books for young children. This new book in Daigneault’s Bruno series is a likable, though not striking or especially original, addition to the genre. Like Winnie-the-Pooh, Bruno resembles a stuffed toy bear, and a small illustration at the top of each page shows Bruno in one of the many different poses a teddy bear can be placed in. The soft texture of Bruno’s fur, his cuddly round body, and appealing facial expressions will please small children and lovers of toy bears.

In this third book of the series, the bear’s misadventures arise out of his fondness for honey. Bruno’s desires are thwarted by authority – in the form of the Queen Bee, some fiercely armed guard bees, and Bruno’s own parents – although he is neither scolded nor hurt, just shamed a bit for his bad manners in trying to force his way into the bees’ nest. By way of apology, he tries to take the bees a jar of honey as a present; of course, he eats some and loses the rest en route, but wins back the Queen Bee’s goodwill anyway with a gift of daisies. The plot inevitably recalls Winnie-the-Pooh, although Daigneault’s story has a cosy tone that lacks Milne’s bracing humour and skill with language.

What distinguishes Bruno from other bear stories are the colourful detailed backgrounds of the woodland scenes where the adventures take place. Each story happens in a different season and the foliage and flowers of a forest in summer are richly evoked here in a warm palette of reds, golds, and greens. As well as the full-page illustrations, there are decorations on the text pages, too, with the sort of little details that small children enjoy spotting. At the bottom of each, a caterpillar is seen eating its way through various leaves and berries until on the last page it becomes a butterfly. A final picture of Bruno surrounded by falling leaves promises the reader that the bear will indeed get his honey eventually and that there will be an autumn sequel to this series of reassuring bear tales.


Reviewer: Gwyneth Evans

Publisher: HarperCollins


Price: $6.99

Page Count: 32 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-00-648124-8

Released: Apr.

Issue Date: 1998-3

Categories: Picture Books

Age Range: ages 3–5