on the one hand, this book is adorable and hilarious. on the other hand, it is full of daaaaangerous lessons.
—station break to make clear that i am an adult person reading this book as an adult person, strictly for pleasure and entertainment. if you are looking for intel about this book’s likelihood to delight your wee nuggets, there’s definitely a better review out there for your needs.*—
this is a story about a bear named reuben. he seems like a nice guy at first—a real pal, thoughtfully bringing donuts for all of his fellow-creatures, even more thoughtfully demonstrating that he knows their individual donut-preferences and has purchased their favorites, even if they are ‘gross,’ like maple-bacon. <— which opinion already marks him as an antihero.)
but then OH NO AWKWARD! someone has wet his pants! how could this have happened??
this spurs him on to a series of interrogations and speculations about which of his “friends” is responsible for his embarrassing situation.
they are all very understanding and patient, gently reassuring him that everyone has accidents, but that only makes him lash out more aggressively with his accusations. gradually, it becomes clear what really happened, although reuben never acknowledges, and perhaps is not even self-aware enough to identify, the true culprit in the pants-wetting scandal.
the drawings are adorable, and reuben’s roaring investigation is very funny, so i loved this book for me as a grown person.
*spoilers ahead* it really is setting a bad example that if you are publicly humiliated and uncomfortable, you should get irrationally angry and accuse everyone around you of causing your downfall, and when it is suggested—however gently—that it is in fact you who are to blame for your own wet pants, you should never EVER take responsibility or apologize, instead deflecting blame elsewhere, no matter how absurd,
before magnanimously ‘forgiving’ everyone whose reputation you’ve tried to tarnish and handing out donut-bribes so you look like an awesome person, without even the slightest sense that you realize how your pants ended up in such a state or that you’ve misbehaved at all.
which, honestly, seems like the attitude it takes to succeed in this world, so have at it, kiddoes! oh, right, i sent all the kids and kid-minders away to other reviews. guess it’s just me and my double-autographed copy of this book
and my well-earned empathy badge!
and while we’re being very mature grown-ups, this detail of bear scat-egories was very much appreciated by me.
obviously, all fist-shaking outrage is intended as humor and while reuben’s behavior certainly has similarities to the real-life antics of various contemporary public figures, i do not think that reading this will turn your tadpoles into sociopaths. but rock and roll probably will.
MAY ALL YOUR PANTS STAY DRY!
* although maybe not those reviews that pearl-clutch and tremble at the bear-character’s removal of his wet pants and subsequent pantslessness for the rest of the book—even though the bold turtle is pantsless throughout, and that whore-squirrel is only wearing a freaking neckerchief
without being equally horrified over the fact that it features a bear and a hippo and a lion and a dog and a turtle and a raccoon and a porcupine and a squirrel and a sasquatch all hanging out without eating each other, building a fire, roasting marshmallows, tying their shoes… i’ve seen bear peen before. it is not terrifying. lions and hippos with opposable thumbs? raccoons who can make fire? these hands with tiny torches…
that’s the real threat, folks…