Written and Illustrated by Katy Hudson
Bear was a bear. And in most ways he was just like any other bear.
The plot in a nutshell: A bear attempts to be a duck.
Bear is tired of many of the facets of being a bear. He’s tired of being hot in the summer and sleeping through the winter and very tired of dealing with bees. One day, he overhears a family of ducks and sees how happy they are. He joins them and tries to blend in. Duck tells him he doesn’t belong, but Bear politely asks Duck to teach him how to be a duck. So Duck tries, giving him pointers in nest building, swimming and flying. Feeling bad that he can’t fly, Bear climbs a tree and Duck points out that ducks can’t climb trees. Bolstered by Duck’s admiration, Bear climbs to the top of the tree to get an apple for Duck and then falls (with an attempt to fly in the process of falling). Duck points out that being a bear is pretty cool and that Bear is really good at it and the two friends share some honey.
This is the debut picture book from author/illustrator Katy Hudson (not to be confused with the Katy Hudson who adopted the stage name of Katy Perry when her singing career took off) and she’s already written another two books since. Most of the lessons that Duck is teaching Bear come from a book called How to Be the Perfect Duck, which is pretty funny. Duck is presented as genderless, which allows the reader to interpret on their own (or just not worry about it, since it’s not integral to the story). The illustrations are done in ink and watercolor, with lots of beautiful wildflowers and streams that present the natural setting as more than just a background. I really enjoyed this book and the whimsical way that the story unfolded. I have added Ms. Hudson’s other books to my reading list.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that wasting time on trying to be something you’re not just takes away from time you can spend on gloriously being your awesome self.