I have reviewed quite a few of books illustrated and written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud now. For an overview of many of his books (those published in the US) check out my review of The Bear's Sea Escape. The Bear's Surprise is the third adventure in the life of this father and son pair of bears and it has quite a few revelations!
First off, there are superb cut-outs on every page that show us where Little Bear, who is looking for his father for a change, is coming from and where he is going to in The Bear's Surprise. One page turn takes Little Bear from a pipe and out through the door of a washing machine! As always, close reading is rewarded with a trove of tiny details. From Alice falling down a rabbit hole, the White Rabbit and his pocket watch not far behind, to a wooly mammoth, cave folks curled up beside him.
Little Bear follows the trail and finds himself outside a tent, then inside and center stage where he sees Papa Bear shooting through the air on a tiny bicycle, headed toward a flaming ring of fire. One act leads to another, but Little Bear gets his biggest surprise when he comes upon Mama Bear holding something very special in her paws...
Benjamin Chaud's illustration style is generously detailed and completely charming. His colors are elegant and out of the ordinary in a picture book. And, best of all, his sense of humor shines through on every page.
The first two Bear Books:
Source: Review Copy