Mom, There’s a Bear at the Door



Perhaps the best books in the world are those that cut away the fat and get right down to brass tacks. That’s exactly what Mom, There’s a Bear at the Door by author Sabine Lipan does.

The book opens with a curious face peeking out of an apartment door and spying a bear in the hallway. And then begins a fat-free, relentlessly hilarious conversation between a young boy and his mother about a bear the son has spotted at the door of their eleventh floor apartment. The banter between mom and son is quick, witty and ping-pongish in nature.

[Mom] How did the bear get up here?
[Son] He took the elevator.
The elevator?
The elevator.
The bear pressed the button and took the elevator?
Of course! The elevator doesn’t work if no one presses the button.

The boy weaves an outlandish tale about where the bear has come from, where it’s going, and all its improbable stops in between. All the while, Mom tries to steer the conversation toward rationality and the boy insists on allowing it to veer off into whatever direction it decides to take.

Ms. Lipan’s prose, which is written for ages k-3, is realistic, natural, and funny enough to leave children in stitches long after the last page has been turned. Artist Manuela Olten’s illustrations are big, burly as a bear, and kid-friendly to the nth degree. She uses soft earth tones to capture the mother’s patient, holding-back-a-laugh expression; the son’s urgent don’t-you-believe-me? expression; the bear’s unassuming, just-a-bear-minding-his-own-business expression; and every expression in-between.

Great for humor, imagination, or for inspiring funny, improbably drawings in art class.

Best wishes and happy banter,
Rita Lorriane


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