Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bear's Picture

Bear's Picture

Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrator:  D.B. Johnson 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008   ISBN: 978-0618759231

Bear wants to paint a picture and so he does. He is adding a rainbow to his orange squiggle and touch of blue when two very “fine, proper gentleman” come along. One of the gentlemen, a short squat looking fellow, announces that “Bears can’t paint pictures.” Bear does not agree with this statement at all. He thinks that bears can do anything they like.

   The gentlemen disagree, though they can’t really give Bear a good reason for why bears cannot do whatever they like. The gentleman then change tack and say that no one can tell what Bear’s picture is “supposed to be,” which is nonsense because Bear knows exactly what his painting means.

   All too often we allow people who comment on our writing, art, or music to make us feel inadequate. They tell us the horse in our picture is too skinny or the main character in our story is too weak. They tell us our song is too long or too short. It is easy to allow these comments to take away the joy of the creative process.

   In this picture book readers will meet a bear who has his own ideas about what he can do. He also does not let his critics take away the joy he experiences as he paints a picture that is all his own.