The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Book Reviews

Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
When the reality of Caleb’s illness comes crashing through their imaginary world, so does the truth about Kit’s life. This is a compelling story of two struggling kids making their own safe haven from harsh worlds neither of them deserves, there’s both joy and sadness in its conclusion.
Published Nov 14, 2019
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

The Best Kind of Bear
Written by Greg Gormley & illustrated by David Barrow
The rough line work and saturated colors of Bear and his new acquaintances create a cozy sense of familiarity, and layered watercolor washes, splashes of dots, and sharp striated strokes build the backdrop to Bear’s investigations, with occasional inked details accenting otherwise organic shapes. The issue of identity is adorably, if abruptly, resolved when our hero accepts Nelly’s offer to become her bear (thus becoming “the best kind of bear”), and little listeners want to snuggle their own stuffed animals after journeying with Bear.
Published Oct 29, 2019
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When Nelly asks Bear what kind of bear he is, he isn’t entirely sure how to answer. So off he goes to find out. But none of the different bears he meets on his travels are like him. Grizzly bears don’t have stitching; polar bears don’t have tags attached to their bottoms; spectacled bears are not as soft and bouncy as Bear is; and sun bears never wear bow ties. Disheartened, he returns to Nelly . . . only to discover what kind of bear he is — her own special bear!



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