A stirring, thoughtful story about the pressure to perform and the support of a true friend.
When Bear sits down at the piano, he makes beautiful music, and the other animals can’t get enough. “More, more, Pianobear!” they shout. But sometimes Bear just wants to relax. Even when he tries to escape to a quiet tree branch, the voices follow him: “More! More! More!” Finally Bear snaps. No one seems to understand why he’s so upset—except Zebra. Zebra loves Bear’s music, but she doesn’t ask him to start playing again. Instead, she brings over a book…
This moving story is the perfect companion for social-emotional lessons about choosing solitude, respecting boundaries, and building interpersonal awareness. Illustrated in striking shades of black, white, and red, Bear Is Never Alone encourages young readers to notice others’ needs and care for them with kindness.
“The real stars of the show are Verstegen’s stunning mixed-media illustrations. Almost wholly black and white, they’re shot through on occasion by a vibrant bolt of red, providing just the right measures of surreal extremes and quiet contemplation. . . . [Bear Is Never Alone] will find a happy home with solitude seekers.”
“Veerkamp’s English-language debut conveys Bear’s overwhelming, urgent need for quiet, and his need to set fierce boundaries to get it. Introverts will recognize themselves in Bear’s experiences and warm to his solution: ‘Let’s be alone together.’”
“Kids who feel put on the spot or overwhelmed are sure to find common ground with Bear, and they'll appreciate the relief Bear feels when he finally finds a peaceful moment and an understanding friend.”
The New York Times
“Across more than a dozen pages, [Verstegen] builds chaos via masterfully composed, rapidly paced spreads that depict the animals’ pursuit of Bear. This makes the story’s final act all the more satisfying, as we wind down to witness a friend’s reverent recognition that peace and quiet is sometimes the answer.”