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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy is a children’s animal picture book written by Craig Sidell and illustrated by Evgeniya Kozhevnikova. Sidell takes the Rudyard Kipling poem and expounds upon it until the reader no longer notices the lack of hair on this bear, but rather learns to appreciate the amazing and loving creature that Fuzzy Wuzzy actually is. While he had no hair or fuzz to speak of, he still looked for fruit and other goodies and was known for sharing his finds with other animals in the woods. He was a loving husband and a proud dad who filled his cub’s life with merriment and affection. And everyone in the forest knew that at a moment of peril, Fuzzy Wuzzy would be there to protect them. So, while not at all fuzzy, he was quite a bear.
Craig Sidell’s The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy teaches kids to look beyond the externals into the hearts and souls of those they meet in their everyday lives. I loved seeing how he fleshes out the story and draws us into Fuzzy Wuzzy’s world. The hairless bear is swiftly transformed into something magical and marvelous. Artist Evgeniya Kozhevnikova’s watercolor paintings are breathtaking. Each panel depicts a different aspect of Fuzzy Wuzzy’s world, peopled with animals, butterflies, and glorious landscapes. I was entranced by the images and found her instinctive approach to the author’s story was eloquent and powerful. Caregivers might want to consider matting and framing favorite panels, though I’d be hard-pressed to pick one over the others. Sidell’s story is geared toward the new reader as well as being a perfect selection for storytime, and is definitely made to be read aloud. The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy is most highly recommended.