Maybe a Bear Ate It!: the review
But what should be the dominant question of the book -- where is this misplaced object? -- is replaced by a hunt for who is at fault for its misplacement.
At the risk of spoiling the end, a bear did not in fact eat the mislaid book, and the other suspects are equally faultless. Still, there's something both childlike and adult in the hope that a small loss could stem from a larger force. It's also easy to draw parallels between the accused bear in the title and the rash of bear-related fatalities last summer. In both cases, bears take the fall for the consequences of a messy bedroom and feeding wild animals.
Despite the relatable dread that some power, be it a bear or vengeful God, is controlling our fate and taking our books, Maybe A Bear Ate It! lacks what literary critic James Wood described as "thisness: "[a] detail that draws abstraction toward itself and seems to kill that abstraction with a puff of palpability." What book is the boy missing? Is the protagonist even a boy? What kind of bear would be hungry for a book? These are the questions Colorado pre-schoolers needs answers to, and ones Robie H. Harris fails to provide.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Denver art and theater scene.