Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray
Hopefully by the publication of Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!, you know Philippe Coudray's creatively thinking bear and his forest full of friends. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, came out in 2011 and is now in paperback and Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! in 2013. If you have never had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin Bear on the page, quotes from these reviews create a perfect picture. Of Benjamin Bear, School Library Journal wrote, "Think Far Side for the elementary set." The Horn Book Magazine said, "It is original [and] deep-down funny . . . most important, the adventures are steeped in the rare quality of imaginative kindness." And Kirkus Reviews aptly noted that Coudray's books are a "visually formatted joke book to inspire thinking as well as laughs."
While I love all those very accurate quotes, I want to emphasize the quality of "imaginative kindness" and the way in which reading the very visual Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!, Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, or Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! does genuinely inspire thinking. Readers are required to pay close attention to each panel, usually anywhere from 3 - 6 per page, in order to get the joke, some of which are mind benders. These books are great for emerging readers, but don't let that limit how you think of them. I have a set in my library and they see a lot of action with 4th and 5th graders at recess when students don't have a lot of time (or necessarily focus) to read a novel. Coudray's books are perfect for everyone!
Source: Review Copy