January 19, 2022


Where Is Bina Bear? by Mike Curato is a gentle, yet powerful tale of two friends learning to understand and trust one another.

A little rabbit named Tiny is throwing a party, and though it seems everyone has arrived Tiny can't find Bina. Where, oh where is Bina Bear? Tiny searches the house, asking the tree in the yard that looks like Bina and the chair in the living room that looks like Bina and even the lampshade in the bedroom that looks like Bina where their bear friend is. But soon Tiny realizes that the question they actually should be asking Bina is, "Are you okay?"

Bina's moments of anxiety are visually accented with the appearance of different shades of yellow, and since Bina is purple the result is a strong complementary color pairing full of innuendo and emotion. Curato adds other colors into the images as the duo move throughout the house, but those key moments generally remain a combination of purples and yellows. It's toward the end of the book, then, when viewers see Bina in front of a bright red background, that readers experience the teeniest, tiniest fraction of the social anxiety that Bina feels when one of Tiny's friends comes into the room. Curato brilliantly and deftly breaks his own pre-established visual rule and introduces a shocking new color into the mix! It makes the scene (and Tiny's subsequent gesture) all the more powerful.

Where Is Bina Bear? published last week from Henry Holt & Company! You can also read an interview I did a few years ago with Mike about his illustration process here!

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