A Shaggy Dog Story Worth Reading Again and Again

BookendsCindy: A new twist on the old “My dog ate my homework” excuse is found in Julia Sarcone-Roach‘s sly picture book The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (2015). An unreliable narrator explains that yes, your sandwich is gone. But the real story is how that sandwich went missing: “It all started with the bear.” 

Bear Ate Your SandwichAnd so unfolds a story of a bear who follows his nose to ripe berries in the back of a pickup truck, eats them and falls asleep, and awakes to find himself in a strange new forest: the city.

The fabulous scenes of bear’s exploration are beautifully painted in bright colors in full double-page spreads or small vignettes. The images of bear on the playground equipment made me laugh out loud and will delight young readers. And then….”there it was. Your beautiful and delicious sandwich. All alone.” The sandwich is eaten and the tale continues until the bear makes it back home to safety. Children will laugh when the identity of the storyteller is finally revealed and they are in on the joke. I think I’ve heard this story before at my house. Be prepared to read this one again and again….

“It all started with the bear…”

Lynn:  My dad was quite a storyteller in his day and he was especially fond of the “shaggy dog” story. He would have loved this picture book, which is, quite literally, a shaggy dog story for kids. This crazy book just cracks me up, from that ridiculously funny bear on the cover sneaking up on the sandwich to the appropriately convoluted story to the absurd punch line. This shaggy dog story has something extra though, as Sarcone-Roach’s illustrations manage to be both absolutely gorgeous and laugh-out loud funny at the same time. What a treat! Now, while you are waiting to get your hands on this book, did I ever tell you about the time a rhino, a lion, and an ostrich walked into a bar?



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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