Bear Outside by Jane Yolen, Jen Corace

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Lots of people have inner strength, but one girl wears hers as a bear outside.


Some folks have a lion inside,
Or a tiger.
Not me.
I wear my bear on the outside.


In this imaginative picture book by Jane Yolen, acclaimed author of many distinguished children's books including Owl Moon and How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, a girl explores the many ways she expresses herself by imagining that she wears a bear as her personal protective shell. They go everywhere and do everything together. The Bear is like a suit of armor and a partner all in one, protecting her from bullies and giving her strength to be bold when she needs it. In turn, she listens to and takes care of the Bear.


Jane Yolen's story beautifully portrays the relationships we have with our inner-selves, encouraging readers to stay in touch with and wear these qualities with pride. Her text is paired with the spritely art of Jen Corace, illustrator of bestseller Little PeaSmall World, and Brave Jane Austen.


Together, Yolen and Corace offer a sophisticated depiction of a child's relationship with her inner strength. --Publishers Weekly


Yolen's gracefully worded, sometimes rhyming text presents a sensible girl whose gentle, ursine protector helps her overcome shyness and act more bravely than she would on her own. In Corace's precisely drawn and beautifully painted gouache, ink, and graphite artwork, the child is almost always depicted within the gentle bear's much larger, semi-transparent form. A creative interpretation of the imaginary friend theme, this original picture book respects both its characters and its audience.-- Booklist


The success of this simple story of a child's summoning of inner strength lies in Corace's gouache and line illustrations. . . . This low-key story encourages viewers to find inner resources for dealing with ordinary challenges, and could help provide children with a structure for contemplating their own armor. --School Library Journal


Yolen's quiet text, seasoned with occasional rhyme, suits this tale of resilience. She gently celebrates how children build their own competencies by adopting imaginary friends and imbuing stuffed toys with their own increasing social-emotional fitness. --Kirkus Reviews


The gouache, ink, and graphite illustrations strike a visually pleasing balance with the soft linework and dappled texture of the bear paired with the more solid geometry of the real world. This gentle, dreamy read would be most useful for youngsters needing a visualization of how to get through a rough patch or to project confidence. --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Jane Yolen is one of the most distinguished and successful authors for young readers and adults in the country. She is the author of close to 400 books--including Rum Pum Pum with Holiday House, Briar Rose, Sister Light, Sister Dark; Owl Moon, and the immensely popular The Devil's Arithmetic. Her books have won awards including the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, the Jewish Book Award, and two Christopher Medals. SFWA named her the 2017 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for her contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.


Jen Corace is the illustrator of many books for children, including Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Small World by Ishta Mercurio, and Brave Jane Austen by Lisa Pliscou. She has a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, and she lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.


Target Age: 4-7

Neal Porter Books

Pub Date: March 02, 2021

0.6" H x 11.1" L x 8.7" W 

32 pages