When a far-sighted shopkeeper encounters a bear in his store that has come in search of honey, he mistakes her for a woman “wrapped up in a fur” and hires her on the spot as his new assistant. Business increases as curious customers come to see the odd new clerk who has the store running smoothly again. But once the shopkeeper puts on his new glasses and realizes that his new assistant is a bear, will her smart running of the place be enough to keep her employed there? Perhaps not. But maybe something far more important will.
The Shopkeeper's Bear is truly a "gem of a book" as it entertains yet teaches a lovely lesson in tolerance and loving others for their individual gifts. I have read and liked other books by Janie DeVos that were wonderfully written so I was excited to see her latest publication. As a children's librarian in a public library, I see many new books come into our library but this book caught my eye right from the start. The cover illustration of Poppy, the bear, lead to even more wonderful illustrations by Rebecca Evans. The story is told in rhyme, as DeVos does so well, and tells the story of a friendship between Poppy, the bear and Mr. McFranklin, the shop owner. Poppy arrives at the perfect time as Mr. McFranklin had broken his glasses and couldn't quite see very well. He knows that his shop is kept clean, the shelves are stocked and the customers kept happy once Poppy arrives. It's not until his glasses are replaced that he realizes that his dear worker is a bear. Once he understands that the bear is THAT Poppy, their friendship is cemented. The illustrations of Poppy with tears and their warm hug is very sweet. I would recommend this book to a parent looking for a nice story to read to their child and it is also perfect for a library storytime. Thanks for another wonderful book and I'm excited to see Janie DeVos' next contribution to our library shelves!