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A visitor for Bear




First edition.
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2008.
Physical Description:
1 volume : color illustrations ; 24 x 28 cm
Bear's efforts to keep out visitors to his house are undermined by a very persistent mouse.
Reading Level:
430 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader LG 2.7.

Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 120212.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 1 Quiz: 43134.
Added Author:


Call Number
JP Bec

On Order



Cheery persistence wears down a curmudgeonly bear in a wry comedy of manners that ends in a most unlikely friendship.

Bear is quite sure he doesn't like visitors. He even has a sign. So when a mouse taps on his door one day, Bear tells him to leave. But when Bear goes to the cupboard to get a bowl, there is the mouse -- small and gray and bright-eyed. In this slapstick tale that begs to be read aloud, all Bear wants is to eat his breakfast in peace, but the mouse -- who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places -- just won't go away!

Author Notes

Bonny Becker has degrees in Psychology and in English/Creative Writing.

Bonny's stories come from life. Her books include the Bear and Mouse series, The Magical Ms. Plum, My Brother the Robot, and An Ant's Day Off.

Bonny lives with her husband and 2 children in Washington state.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-When a friendly mouse knocks at his door, Bear sternly points to the "No Visitors Allowed" sign. Returning to his breakfast preparations, he opens the cupboard only to find the mouse tucked inside a bowl. "Perhaps we could have just a spot of tea," the ever-hopeful guest suggests, but he is again shown the door. Despite boarding the windows shut, stopping up the chimney, and plugging the bathtub drain, the persistent rodent keeps reappearing. Finally Bear admits defeat, "I am undone," and agrees to set out a snack. Much to his surprise, Bear enjoys the company and shares jokes and demonstrates a talent at headstands. The visit prompts him to reconsider his sign: "That's for salesmen. Not for friends." Denton's softly hued watercolor illustrations capture the humorous interplay between the unlikely companions. The fastidious, pot-bellied bear wears a tiny apron while the wee mouse with a big personality peeks out of such unlikely places as an egg carton. The lively repetition and superb pacing make this an ideal choice for storytime.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(Preschool, Primary) "No visitors allowed." The sign on Bear's front door is clear, but one "small and gray and bright-eyed" mouse is undeterred. After Bear refuses to let him in, the mouse begins popping up in Bear's kitchen, and anti-social Bear -- large, round, and intimidating -- throws him out each time. The rhythmic text quickly falls into a pattern: the mouse surprises Bear, Bear gets angry; the mouse politely suggests "a spot of tea" or "a crackling fire"; Bear, growing increasingly desperate, orders the mouse to leave ("BEGONE!"). Denton's warm and inviting illustrations belie Bear's inhospitable behavior, and Becker's energetic narrative encourages listeners to participate in telling the story. Fifty-six pages is long for a picture book, but the story zips briskly along, facilitated by effective page turns and not much text per spread. The mouse's fourth attempt is the charm (or the last straw): when Bear finds the mouse in his teakettle, he breaks down. "I give up...You win. I am undone." As the tension dissipates, the story slows down, forgoing the predictable pattern and making room for something new...like a "most attentive" listener who laughs at Bear's jokes. "No one had ever laughed at Bear's jokes before." At story's end, it's Bear who entreats the mouse to stay for another cup of tea. In the presence of a friend, Bear is transformed; both text and art handle the shift in perspective with aplomb. A surefire storytime hit, A Visitor for Bear won't wear out its welcome. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

The sign on Bear's front door declares "NO VISITORS ALLOWED"--and the curmudgeon means it. When a tapping at the door interrupts his breakfast preparation, he's quite annoyed, especially when he opens it and finds a small, bright-eyed mouse. Bear points to his sign and slams the door. But, when he opens the cupboard for a bowl, there is the mouse. "OUT," commands Bear. Three more times, the mouse raps and Bear yells. He locks the door and windows, stops up the chimney, plugs the drain in the bathtub and thinks he's mouse-free--until he lifts the tea-kettle lid and there's the mouse--again! "I give up," Bear blubbers. "You win!" Two plates of cheese, two cups of tea and two sets of fire-warmed toes later, the mouse promises to go. When Bear walks him to the door, he shows his appreciation of mouse's company by taking down his sign: "Only for salesmen--not friends." Charmingly droll, watercolor, ink and gouache illustrations, excellent pacing and the contrast in the sizes of Bear and mouse are a perfect comedic mixture. Kids will giggle each time the mouse reappears and grin with satisfaction when big and little become friends. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Bear seems happy in this solitude and even has a sign posted on his house, No visitors allowed. A mouse who taps on Bear's door is told to go away. But Mouse won't, and keeps reappearing until Bear finally dissolves into tears and gives in. Soon Bear realizes it's pleasant having someone else around, and when Mouse is ready to leave, Bear doesn't want him to go; he even removes the sign, declaring that it was for really just for salesmen, not for friends. Watercolor, ink and gouache illustrations in a soft color palette show a comfortable, expansive house that seems to emphasize Bear's need for a friend to fill it up. The characters are highly expressive, making the pictures fun, and the dramatic text will lend itself to reading aloud. Pair this with Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Dog and Bear (2007).--Enos, Randall Copyright 2008 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

"MY goodness, what's the matter?" I once asked a 5-year-old boy who was sitting at the edge of a Sunday school group and staring morosely into space. "I don't like bears" he told me. "They have mean eyes." Not in picture books, they don't. In picture books, bears tend to have either small eyes that twinkle with kindness or large, flat button eyes that regard the world with calm docility. Bears are never the bad guys in picture books, though the one in "A Visitor for Bear," by Bonny Becker, starts out as a grump. Bear has a lovely old Tudor cottage (as illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton), with a beehive design on the fire screen and a basket of apples under the green pump in the kitchen, but he doesn't want anyone to come inside. To make his point clear, he has put up a No Visitors Allowed sign on his front door. After chasing a mouse away, Bear sets his bee-printed tablecloth with one cup and one spoon, just the way he likes it. "But when he opened the cupboard to get one bowl ... there was the mouse! Small and gray and bright-eyed." The mouse suggests a spot of tea, but Bear shows him the door. Undaunted, the mouse keeps turning up - dancing on a loaf of bread, sitting in an egg carton. ("A crackling fire?" the mouse hints.) Though Bear plugs the tub and stops up the chimney, the mouse persists until Bear finally offers him some tea. "They sat for a long while. The clock in Bear's house ticked loudly." By the time the mouse is ready to leave, Bear of course wants him to stay, and they go back inside for some more tea "A Visitor for Bear" has the feel of a classic, and it's so cozy no parent could object to reading it aloud every night. The angular scarf-wearing star of "Bear's Picture," by Daniel Pinkwater, is stubborn in a different way: he wants to paint a picture. "First he made an orange squiggle. Then he had a look at it. 'I believe it wants some blue,' said the bear. And he painted some blue." Sounds good, but the "fine, proper gentlemen" - both painted in gray and black - don't get it. "Bears aren't the sort of fellows who can do whatever they like," they say. As the bear adds more and more colors, the gentlemen try to figure the picture out. A butterfly? A clown? No, the bear tells them. "It is a honey tree. ... It is a cold stream in the forest." It's a picture of the things bears like, and the two gray gentlemen will never understand. But the bear is happy, and his paint-spattered necktie is as colorful as his art. I can't tell if kids will take "Bear's Picture" to heart. Though faultless in their own way, the text and the illustrations (by D.B. Johnson) veer toward the realm of Sophisticated Grown-Up Picture Books - stories that graphic designers who boycott licensed toys want their kids to like. But there are certainly plenty of parents like that, and they will love "Bear's Picture." I would bet that "Wonder Bear," by Tao Nyeu, is going to be a big deal. It's a wordless dream about two children who plant two packets of seeds. One packet bears a picture of a watermelon; the other, a picture of a top hat. As the children sleep - their bed conveniently outside, next to their garden - the top-hat seeds sprout into a huge magic plant covered with looping vines and orange flowers. Out of one of these flowers steps the top-hatted white Wonder Bear. He reaches into the hat and pulls out a batch of monkeys, who quickly form a pyramid. The bear shoots the two children out of a cannon right to the top before he blows a swarm of soapbubble lions who chase the monkeys away, after which Wonder Bear turns the sky into the sea, and the two children ride away on a dolphin king while an octopus carries the monkeys. Then it's nighttime again, and the bear tucks the children back into bed while the monkeys climb back into the magic plant. (While all this was going on, the seeds from the other packet have grown into large watermelons.) Wonder Bear steps into his hat and floats away, presumably into the world of picture-book history. In Brenda Z. Guiberson's "Ice Bears," we turn from fictional bears to realistic ones. Against a backdrop of beautiful swirly snow (in watercolors by Ilya Spirin), a female polar bear digs a nesting den, gives birth to twin cubs and gradually introduces them to their new world of daylight, wolves and finally the frozen ocean. (When the mother teaches her cubs to hunt, Guiberson tactfully uses the words "blubber" and "bones" rather than "killed seal.") Lemmings, mosquitoes and bumblebees share summertime with the bears until the welcome winter comes again. "Finally the ice bears can return to the ice, ready to fatten up on seals during the long cold winter ahead." In "Wonder Bear," seeds sprout into a magic plant covered with orange flowers. As that last sentence shows, it's not quite clear what age the author wants to reach. The book's size, format and sound effects - "Honk! Honk! Kree!" - seem meant for preschoolers, but grade-school statistics sometimes bump up against the story of this mother bear and her cubs. ("Slurpslurp. She nurses them often. As she loses weight, they grow plump on her rich, creamy milk that is 30 percent fat.") "Ice Bears" would work best as a firstor second-grade classroom book. It was born to inspire book reports - the kind that are taped into folders made of construction paper. The "Arctic Ice Report" at the book's end is terribly sad, but it's followed by a directory of environmental groups working to reduce global warming. Which is important, because picture books that introduce global-size fears should also equip young readers with the tools to address the problem. Despair has no place in a picture book. Grown-ups may suspect that there will never again be enough ice for the ice bears - but children can't be allowed to feel that way. Children need to believe that polar bears, with their nice eyes, will always be around if only we work a little harder. Ann Hodgman's most recent book is "The House of a Million Pets."