July 20, 2015
The Bear at Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
The Bear at Your Sandwich
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Alfred A. Knopf
“By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you.”
This is, in short, a story about a bear. A bear who smelled wonderful, delicious berries. Who knew that eating these berries would fill his tummy and he’d fall asleep in the bed of the pick up which would then carry him to the city?
In this fun, imaginative story, author/illustrator Julia Sarcone-Roach creates a picture book in which the text and illustrations play off each other perfectly. As the text describes the bear exploring the new forest in which the truck leaves him, we watch him explore the city. He discovers great climbing spots (fire escapes and washing lines), itchy trees (telephone poles) and squishy mud (wet concrete).
On the prowl for fabulous smelling things to eat, he discovers a part and in the far corner an open lunch box sitting on a park bench. In the box is a glorious sandwich which the bear proceeds to eat.
Spoiler alert! Do not read past this point if you will be mad that I give away the ending.
As he finishes the sandwich he notices that all the dogs in the dog park are watching him.
In the end, we discover that it is one of the dogs telling the story to his owner — the somewhat miffed person who planned to eat the sandwich.
The text in this book is oh so brief and young readers will love the play between what the book says and what the book shows. These contradictions will lead young readers to wonder did the dog really see a bear eat the sandwich? Or is the dog the culprit?
Sarcone-Roach’s illustrations give us a bear that is detailed enough to read his expressions but cartoony enough that he isn’t big and scary. In fact, attentive readers will notice in the artwork that children through out the city notice and point to the bear but no one is running in fright.
This is a great book to share as a jumping off point for discussions about truth and expectations.