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The Picture Book Buzz

There Are No Bears in This Bakery - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Okay, so it's not Friday. But, I accepted my daughter's request to "play hooky" and went skiing. Unfortunately, that meant this post didn't get done when I wanted. But I discovered, it wasn't the end of the world. Since I fell in love with this book, and I think you will all love it too, I'm posting it now.

This book is one of those instances, sung about in the new Mary Poppins movie, where the cover is not the book. The adorable image of a sweet cat and a donut devouring bear just doesn't give the reader any hint about the "film noir" detective who narrates the story. Julia Sarcone-Roach, the author of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, has masterfully created another great picture book.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery

Author/Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (2019)

Ages: 4-8



Detective story, animals, and sweet treats, and humor.

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

The creator of the New York Times bestselling The Bear Ate Your Sandwich brings us another sly story of a hungry bear and a smooth-talking narrator. A tough gumshoe of a cat--the name's Muffin--protects his territory: The Little Bear Bakery. But there are no bears here. Not on Muffin's watch. One night, Muffin hears a suspicious noise. Mouse? Raccoon? Bat? Nope, not the usual suspects. But Muffin hears . . . growling. Could it be? Yup. A bear. Just a cub. Whose stomach is definitely growling. Muffin's got this case solved--clearly this bear needs some donuts. In this wonderfully noir-tinged tale, Julia Sarcone-Roach gives us another funny story of a hungry bear in the wrong place at the right time. This tale is sly and sweet, with sprinkles on top.

Opening Lines (which occur before the title page):

There are no bears in Little Bear Bakery.

I'm the whiskers of this neighborhood.

And if it flutters, scurries, or scampers here,

I know about it.

The name is Muffin.

And this is my tale.

Why I Love this book:

Be sure to check out the cover and the end pages. Julia left beautiful visual treats for the reader.

As I mentioned above, the story begins before the title page and you get a definite hint of the voice and personality of Muffin. Each night, rising with the moon and the bread, Muffin is on the case identifying all of the neighborhood noises. Until one night, "when the sun rolled off the edge of the sky," an unfamiliar sound leads Muffin to the open bakery window.

Sounding like Sam Spade, Muffin investigates ("I slipped into the darkness like icing melting down a hot cake") and discovers the "biggest mouse I had ever seen."

Text and Image © Julia Sarcone-Roach, 2019.

After discovering it's really a baby bear, and that the rumbling noise is its belly (and getting her tail to relax), Muffin's on the case, and everywhere else that holds a treat to fix the baby bear's hunger. Their escapades through the bakery are priceless. However, just when everything seems right, something snuffles in the darkness. Something enormous that "smelled like the dumpster on a hot day and rumbled louder than the vacuum cleaner."

Text and Image © Julia Sarcone-Roach, 2019.

You're gonna have to check out the book to see how Muffin closes the case. The lyricism of the text blends well with the many baking references and cooking puns, making it a treat to read aloud. The acrylic and marker illustrations of the tawny, orange cat and the colorful bakery sweets stand out beautifully against the dark setting of a night-time escapade. Entertaining both kids and adults, this is a delightful book.


- make some easy bear cookies to enjoy as you read (; or

- make a cat ( and a bear ( paper bag puppet and reenact the story OR invite them to your own bakery party.

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.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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