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It’s a bright and beautiful day at the lake where a boy and his mother are camping. The boy is just a little scared of jumping into the water. At the same time, not too far away, a hungry bear cub is a little scared of diving deep into a dumpster, where tasty snacks await. Later, when the boy encounters a distraught mama bear sniffing around the dumpster, he’s very scared. But so is her bear cub, who is trapped inside! Bold, graphic artwork moves the narrative along in this mostly-wordless book full of sound effects and simple variations on a single phrase full of so many meanings (“He was scared”). Parallel stories of the mother and son, and mama and cub, come together when the campers, despite being scared, help rescue the cub from the dumpster. This simple, moving story invites readers to observe expressions, body language, and details hidden in the illustrations to follow the narrative. It’s a sweet summer read that normalizes fear and encourages acting with courage and compassion—even when you’re scared.
By Andrée Poulin and Véronique Joffre