Right away, from the vulgar nose-picking and tongue-poking loonies depicted on the cover, we know we’re in for some rude and naughty bears who can’t wait to give that subversive thrill kids so adore. And the promise is rewarded for these hairy creatures romp across the pages, bar the doors and hang from the chandeliers throughout the book. Certainly they are ugly and playful rather than scary, but they do still need to be taught a lesson, because they won’t let our hero go upstairs to bed. How bad is that? But the joke is on us because in the end the wicked animals turn out to be under the influence of the boy all along.
Dynamic compositions and jolly palette allow us not take this anxious story too seriously while chalky textures and simple patterns keep the images bold and varied viewpoints keep the scale lively. The characters are definitely not sweet and the cat who mirrors the boy’s feelings is wonderfully quirky. Kids will enjoy the fun.