A Visitor for Bear
by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Hooray for us introverts! I've long savored this essay about the horrors of enduring those in-your-face, smile-a-minute, non-stop extroverts. Let them go chat up amoeba down at the bottom of the food chain and leave us higher-functioning types to our deep, world-saving contemplations, says misanthrope moi.
Naturally, my sympathies go out to critters like Bear, with his growly countenance and "No Visitors Allowed" sign. All he wants is a spot of breakfast. All Mouse wants is to join him. Bear finds every way possible to turn him away. Mouse finds every way back in, until Bear finds all that friendliness, well, over-bear-ing and surrenders to the inevitable.
Mouse is all British-style cheek and cheeriness, but is overall quite polite, in his persistent way, while Bear is all gruff and grizzly temper. The duo is in the best tradition of Odd Couple-type pairings, and there's no question by the end that Bear will find the expected solace in having such a companionable visitor.
MacDonald Denton's watercolors place Bear in a cozy, suburban-style home with all the creature comforts--just the sort of place where a friendly Mouse might want to make himself welcome. And a few jots and lines conjure up a full range of bearish expressions, from delight to exasperation and back again.