The (Not-So) Loveable Bear, Bruce Returns (2019 Book Review)

Bruce, the unibrow bear, is back!

The curmudgeon of a bear will never be mistaken for roly poly Winnie the Pooh, but instead is a lot more like Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls.  Still, it’s hard not to like Bruce (although honestly, his resistance gets a little tiresome).  Ryan T. Higgins, Bruce’s award-winning author and illustrator, brings Bruce back for two more adventures in 2019.

Although it does get tiring to read about how grumpy Bruce is (we get it – he’s GRUMPY), Ryan does a wonderful job laying out a compelling story with some truly beautiful art.  The detail Ryan puts into every page is something that will have children (and their parents) going back to again and again just to soak in all the little touches he puts into each illustration.  His characters are quite lovable and even though the book is about Bruce, it’s also about the community of friends that Bruce lives in.

In the hardback World of Reading Level 1 book, Bruce’s Big Fun Day it’s obvious this is NOT a fun day for Bruce.  His buddy, a mouse named Nibbs, is determined to take Bruce out for a BIG FUN DAY, but things don’t go as planned.  Reminiscent of Green Eggs and Ham there doesn’t seem to be anything that pleases Bruce.  Every adventure makes him grumpy.  And the book closes with this (spoiler alert!): “It was a day filled with fun!  Bruce does not like fun.  Fun makes Bruce grumpy…And Bruce likes being grumpy.”  Quite sweet in the end and easy enough to read for beginners.

Title: Bruce’s Big Fun Day
Author: Ryan T. Higgins
Cost: $14.99
Age: 3-5 (but really for any Bruce fan)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide
Genre: Early readers book

The cover to Bruce’s Big Storm

Ryan’s other Bruce book for 2019 is Bruce’s BIG Storm, more of a traditional Bruce book.  A picture book with beautiful illustrations, at it’s heart is a wonderful message about community and coming together for one another.  Even if somewhat reluctantly.  I have a feeling that deep down Bruce is quite fond of the other denizens of the forest – he just has a reputation to maintain for being grumpy.  The book centers around a – well pretty obvious – big storm.  The forest animals need to find shelter and Bruce’s house is the most logical choice.  He is a bear with a house after all.  But when a tree comes crashing through the roof, Bruce has lost not only his privacy but his home!  The woodland creatures come together and help Bruce out as their affection for Bruce grows.  Despite his best efforts.  Entertaining, funny, with humor that both kids and adults will find charming, this is a great book for all Bruce fans and for anyone who just likes well-drawn woodland creatures.

Title: Bruce’s Big Storm
Author: Ryan T. Higgins
Cost: $17.99
Age: 3-5
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide
Genre: Picture book

If you haven’t yet discovered the talent of Ryan T. Higgins, check out either of these books or any of his previous ones.  Ryan is a talented children’s author and illustrator who crafts well done stories!  Check it out.

Thanks to Disney Publishing Worldwide for letting me review these two beautiful books!  My first encounter with Ryan T. Higgins was through the equally beautiful and quite funny Be Quiet! with a follow up with We Don’t Eat Our Classmates a very funny, also beautifully illustrated, with just a twist of dark humor. 

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