Author: Ben Queen, Joe Todd-Stanton (Illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel / Middle Grade
Publication Date: 18 August 2020
Bear is a guide dog who would do anything for his owner Patrick – and embarks on an epic quest from the forest to the city to regain his sight so he can protect his best friend.
Bear is a service dog who would do anything for his owner and best friend Patrick who is blind. But when Bear suddenly loses his vision, he worries he’s lost his purpose in life—protecting Patrick! Following the misguided advice from some self-serving raccoons, Bear embarks on a transformative journey to regain his eyesight. Out of both necessity and survival, he learns to tap into his other senses and begins to see the world from a new perspective that is at times more rich and colorful than the world he’s always known.
Bear was just as it had appeared to be: a heart-warming story of a charming dog named Bear and his relationship with his owner Patrick (AKA: his best friend. Also AKA: his purpose in life).
Bear’s child-like nature and innate goodness were delightful to read. Simple thoughts were shared across a bright spread of illustrative artwork with bold colours and colour-coordinated speech making Bear’s thoughts easily distinguishable. This allowed me to follow the story without any confusion and I was transfixed enough to finish the book all in one sitting.
Patrick’s inclusion in the story not only aided the reader’s understanding of Bear’s purpose as a Guide Dog but their relationship was also really sweet to read about. It’s not often you have someone so dependable and close in your life however, Patrick was lucky enough to experience this after adopting Bear. Their relationship was a unique blend of friendship, love and a strong sense of purpose.
When Bear suddenly loses his vision, all of this is set to disappear. The loving home he has finally found with Patrick and the loss of his one purpose in life. With an ensuing adventure full of midnight escapades and being lost in a large city, Bear faces it all in the hope of being able to restore his vision. While this book had a jaunty pace there was the impression that a few areas had been quickly glanced over in the hope of maintaining the pace and removing some of the cumbersome time elements from the story. Bear read as if it had been set all in one day and yet… it felt like too much had happened for this to be logistically possible. Additionally, there was the inclusion of a family-like HEA at the end that felt unnecessary and a bit out-of-the-blue. I would have preferred the story without this element.
Overall, Bear was a fun and entertaining story that I would recommend for people of all ages. This is a delight that can be enjoyed by all!
*Arc kindly provided by BOOM! Studios via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*