The two kids are wide-eyed with wonder, and you will be too. This is a dazzling debut?a vibrant, welcoming, strikingly original picture book.
- ISBN-13: 9780803733282
- ISBN-10: 0803733283
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publish Date: September 2008
- Page Count: 48
- Reading Level: Ages 3-5
- Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2008-08-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Making her debut with this publication of her M.F.A. thesis project, Nyeu tells the wordless story of two children who cultivate an enormous beanstalk-like plant, which in turn sprouts the titular bear, all in one night. With help from Wonder Bear's magical blue hat, the children are treated to a series of fantastic spectacles and adventures, culminating in a ride through the sky on the back of a royal dolphin in the company of other sea creatures. Elaborate patterning, a fondness for curvilinear motifs (gusts of wind, swirls in the ocean) and a saturated palette dominated by lapis and other gem tones give Nyeu's silk-screened compositions a sumptuous, Art Nouveau-meets-psychedelic feel. But her main characters lack the personality to drive a compelling narrative arc; in general, these pictures are like individual showcases for different visual challenges (how to re-create transparent surfaces, how to suggest clouds and sky, etc.). Nyeu's art makes a strong impression; it just doesn't tell much of a story. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Gorgeously oversized Wonder Bear has the same dreamlike quality of many wordless picture books. Silkscreened illustrations colored with a bright palette of blues and oranges, straight from Tao Nyeu's M.F.A. thesis, tell the story of magic seeds, a special bear and one ordinary-looking blue and red hat. From this hat come all sorts of wonders: creatures, bubbles in the shape of lions, even flying porpoises! This childhood fantasy of adventure in an oversized format will amuse the young reader as she "reads" the story over and over and discovers new details each time. At times the art reminded me of Wanda Gág's work, with its black lines and graphic elements, and at other times the imaginary worlds of Dr. Seuss seemed to be Nyeu's inspiration. These illustrations, simple and complex at the same time, offer much for the reader who revisits its rich world.