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The Picture Book Buzz

Bear's Scare - Perfect Picture Book Friday # PPBF

Even if you're not OCD, or a super neat freak, I'd be willing to bet you've had a relative or friend visit who you swear resembled a tornado. Or perhaps a roommate whose idea of organization and straightening differed greatly from yours.

Now, what if that other person was . . . a spider?

Bear's Scare

Author/Illustrator: Jacob Grant

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books (2018)

Ages: 3-6



Friendship, diversity, tolerance


Bear likes to keep his house clean and tidy. In fact, the only thing Bear loves more than cleaning is taking care of his small stuffed friend, Ursa.

Then Bear sees a sticky spiderweb . . . and where there's a web there is certainly a spider! The messy guest must be found, but what Bear and Ursa finally discover might just be an unlikely friend.

Opposites attract in this adorable story, where new friends come in all shapes and sizes.

Opening Lines:

Bear was sure of many things.

He was sure that his house was clean.

He was sure that his rooms were tidy.

He was certainly sure that he took very

good care of everything inside.

What I Like About This Book:

A very fastidious, clean (dare we say OCD) bear loves to clean his house, along with his beloved stuffed friend Ursa, every day. Everything was stable and fine, until one day he finds a misplaced book and an attached SPIDER'S web. Readers will enjoy finding the numerous webs and hidden spiders throughout the book.

In a fun series of images, Jacob contrasts Bear's assumptions about spiders and their "messy" webs with the actual actions of the new house guest. Instead of making a mess, the spider is quietly enjoying artistic endeavors and reading. The muted charcoal illustrations in peaches and browns are the perfect foil for the white spider webs that pop up throughout.

Text & image © Jacob Grant 2018.

While tearing the place apart, without finding a single spider, Bear accidentally rips the arm off Ursa. A shift in the color palette to blacks and greys (except for Ursa and the Spider), reinforces Bear's agony over the injury to Ursa.

Text & image © Jacob Grant 2018.

After searching his house, Bear dashes back to Ursa with a first aid kit, glue, and tape. But when he returns, he discovers the new house guest had already repaired Ursa. Bear discovers that others who are "nothing like us" have some amazing talents and he doesn't mind sharing his home with one more friend. The image of the three of them reading together and the final wordless spread is priceless.


- some lesson plans for k-8 which teach tolerance through multiple subjects (;

- use these ( or other crafts to make your own cute spider;

- learn about spiders and how they are helpful in the garden and house; or

- write your own story about your best, or worst, roommate.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

If you want to learn more about the author/illustrator, Jacob Grant check out our discussion this Monday - here.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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