A cuddly bear cub is on a quest to overcome his fear of the dark in this full-color storybook starring the sweet characters from the Willowbe Woods.
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Ila Wallen is a graduate of San Jose State University with a degree in Advertising and Creative Writing. She has worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years as a developer and producer of intellectual properties and television shows. In addition to that, Ila spent several summers working with young children as a camp counselor.
Her experiences there challenged her to create an imaginative world where children would always feel safe. The land of Willowbe Woods and it's animal inhabitants became that place. A place to take a first step, learn something new, make new friends, and explore to your hearts content.
PreSchool-Grade 3-Papa Rango gathers the little critters of Willowbe Woods around the campfire to share stories of facing life's challenges. He chooses Will, whose fear of the dark is keeping him awake at night. ("'It's too dark in my room and/There's something under my bed./Please make it go away,'/Will said with much dread.") After his father (called Billy, not Daddy or Papa) helps the little bear look for the monsters under his bed, they decide to ask around for suggestions. What the cub finds out is that all of his friends have their own fears and have found ways to lessen them. ("'The dark does not scare me,' Sophie said, 'but high places used to./Then I got a trampoline and saw sights that were new.'") He decides that since he loves moonlight, he should get a moon-shaped nightlight. This story wants to give a positive message about overcoming one's fears, but it falls flat due to completely non-metered rhyme and excessive wordiness for the targeted audience. Sauber, whose illustrations for Jonathan London's Gray Fox (Viking, 1993; o.p.) were quite nice, chooses a garish palette here for his sappy pictures. People looking for reassuring stories would do better with another copy of Jeanne Willis's Monster Bed (Lothrop, 1987), Paulette Bourgeois's Franklin in the Dark (Kids Can, 1986), Katharine Holabird's Alexander and the Dragon (Crown, 1988; o.p.), or Ellen Stoll Walsh's Pip's Magic (Harcourt, 1994).
Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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