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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Bearly Different is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Kayla Carbone and Janine Carbone. Henry is going to the park with his family. They are going to have a picnic, and Henry is carrying a basket of food and a blanket. When he reaches the park, Henry notices that everyone there looks different. He doesn’t feel too good about that because he doesn’t like being different. He imagines himself as a big, mean, chocolate brown bear roaring in his forest. His big sister joins in and imagines herself as a wood brown bear who eats bugs. Each member of Henry’s family pictures themselves as a different type of bear, and Henry realizes that being different isn’t really as bad as he thought it was.
Kayla Carbone and Janine Carbone’s children’s picture book, Bearly Different, is a marvelous story that shows children that diversity is not something to be frightened of or get angry about. The authors’ story illustrates that even in one’s family it’s okay to be different, and that you still belong, no matter your skin color, size or interests. The illustrations work beautifully with both the story and the imaginary scenarios Henry and his family concoct. Each panel is brightly colored and filled with action and feeling. This is a good book for parents and caregivers to read aloud, but it’s also written with first-readers in mind. Bearly Different shows that being different is something to feel good about, and that is a great message indeed. It’s most highly recommended.