Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bella & Bean

Bella & Bean

Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrator:  Aileen Leijten 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-0689856167

Bella lives in a neat little brick house at the base of tree, and every day she sits at her desk beneath a window and she writes poetry. Writing poetry is what she loves to do, and when her friend Bean turns up and starts to talk about her new hat, Bella is not amused. How can a mouse focus on creating poetry when someone is talking to her about hats? Bella makes it clear that she wants to be left alone to work on her poems.

After Bean leaves to walk down to Spoon Pond, Bella come up with some wonderful words, and she writes a poem. She is not left in peace for long before Bean is once again standing outside her window. This time Bean shows Bella her toes. Bean says that someone has told her that she has the “cutest toes.” Bella is not interested in Beans toes, and Bean soon leaves.

Bella is working on yet another poem, when Bean comes over and she is carrying “something big and green.” Bean invites Bella to come to Spoon Pond to help her plant her snow bush. Bella declines and she shuts her window. She has poems to write, and she has no time to talk about hats, admire toes, or plant snow bushes. Or maybe she does.

When readers meet Bella and Bean they will think that these two very different mice cannot possibly be friends because they are so very unalike. The funny thing is that they would be wrong. With a delightful text that is sprinkled with poems, and cunning illustrations, the author and illustrator show readers how people (or mice) who are very different can still be friends. They can share the things they love to do, and find a common ground that allows them to have a close and meaningful relationship.