John, Jory

Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

(2) PS Illustrated by Erin Kraan. Jeff the bear leaves his house with the nagging feeling that he's forgotten something. When he encounters a deer and frog at a stream, their shocked expressions lead him to make some awkward small talk before proceeding on. At this point, the deer is the first (of many) to break the fourth wall and ask readers, "Why is that bear wearing underwear?" After similar encounters with several more animals, Jeff hurries to see his "trusted friend" Anders the hare, who is finally honest with him. Embarrassment ensues once Jeff realizes he's still wearing his gift from his grandma, especially when the forest animals reappear to stare at Jeff in a series of wordless spreads. While Anders may not think it necessary for his friend to wear undies ("You're covered in fur from head to toe, man!"), he lends support by wearing them, too ("This is the new THING, people! The new STYLE!"). The two trendsetters in John's tale of friendship ("Good friends are like good underwear") and acceptance ("You're just fine as you are") are endearing: Jeff with all his nervous rambling that primes this story for read-alouds and Anders with his personality-rich comments ("Oh boy. Should I tell him?...Why am I even asking you? Who are you?"). The text's repetition and direct address will appeal to preschoolers, as will the humorous images of Jeff (and eventually the other animals) in snug tighty-whities. Kraan's textured illustrations in earthy greens and browns accentuate the natural setting and, along with the animals' expressive body language, help reinforce the delightful silliness of the situation.


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