The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
Knopf (Random House)
It’s sounds counter-intuitive, but the best Big Reveals are the ones that aren’t necessary. Or maybe it makes more sense to think of it this way: if everything leading up to the moment of unexpected truth isn’t worth the reader’s while, then who cares? The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julie Sarcone-Roach (Subway Story) is an excellent picture book for 26 pages, with a final six that takes things to the next level and makes the reader reassess everything that came before.
By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you.
It all started with a bear.
From there the off-screen narrator launches into the tale of how a black bear, through a series of questionable decisions and coincidence, made his way from forest to city to park to the very bench where the crime took place. The sandwich is gone. But when the identity of the narrator is revealed (hint: a non-human who also enjoys a good sandwich), will the reader still trust the story?
The acrylic paint and pencil illustrations are like walking into a vivid dream – soft and ethereal with a masterful sense of light. They often give just enough shape and detail for readers to understand what is happening, leaving the rest to be formed in the mind. It’s remarkably beautiful artwork, and it leaves my Caldecott Spidey sense buzzing.
An expertly illustrated, engaging book with a big reveal that ices the cake, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich should go down as one of the finest picture books of the year.
Review copy from the publisher.