Bear wakes up hungry from hibernation, and the only food source in sight is a beehive. When the bee on top of the hive offers up his honey, Bear says, “But what about the bee?” See, Bear doesn’t actually know what a bee is—it’s certainly not the creature he is talking to—and his preconceived notions about bees include that they’re “terrible monsters!” with “large teeth” and “sharp claws.” […] These two unlikely friends […] are charmers […]. This story about snap judgments is wrapped in cuteness, making it just right for the pre-school set. — Ann Kelle
|How bees look in Bear’s morbid imagination.
Bear and Bee. published by Hyperion in 2013.
“I Bee-lieve Sergio Ruzzier is a big Bear of a talent.” – Maurice Sendak
“Ruzzier has a solid sense of comic timing and proffers his lesson on the folly of prejudice with an admirably light touch.” – Publishers Weekly
“Ruzzier’s pacing is impeccable. The illustrations are simple and uncluttered, keeping the focus on the two expressive friends and making this a great choice for sharing with groups. The correction of misconceptions has never been so much fun.” -Kirkus Reviews
Photo by Brian Floca
Sergio Ruzzier is a picture book author and illustrator.
He was born in Milan, Italy, in 1966, and began his career as an illustrator in 1986.
Sergio has written and illustrated many picture books, including Fox and Chick: The Party, a 2019 Geisel Honor Book; Fish and Wave, a 2023 Geisel Honor book; Two Mice; and more. He was a recipient of the 2011 Sendak Fellowship. His work has won many awards, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal for The Room of Wonders and This Is Not a Picture Book!.
After many years in Brooklyn, NY, he now lives in a very old house in the Apennine Mountains in northern Italy. He is both an Italian and a U.S. citizen.
Sergio is represented by Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. You can follow her blog and her tweets.
Four starred reviews!
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?
“A great addition to the literature on ducks. . . or socks!”
– Kirkus, starred review
“Bunting and Ruzzier create a lightly surreal and emotionally benevloent landscape. . . . The book’s gentle takeaway [is] reinforced by Ruzzier’s signature offbeat aesthetic . . . and Bunting’s solid, conversational rhymes.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Such angst over a pair of socks has never been conveyed so well. . . . A perfect book for the newest reader, especially one with a grand sense of humor.”
– Horn Book, starred review
“This is a whimsical delight for children whose parents clamor for phonics-based books.”
– School Library Journal, starred review
Tweak Tweak, published by Clarion Books in 2011.
“Young children will enjoy following Little Elephant’s fantasies….Along with the imaginative silliness, the nurturing parent-child tenderness is the core of the story.” – Booklist
“The pairing of Bunting’s traditional text, powered by an elegant repeating structure, with Ruzzier’s offbeat art is unexpectedly fabulous.” – Horn Book Magazine, starred review
Amandina published in 2008 by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press.
“Ruzzier creates a haunting intimacy with his watercolors of a centuries-old Italian town (the theater is a tiny Umbrian jewel) and its strangely human-eyed animal citizens, as well as his unvarnished language (“Nobody had come. Sometimes these things happen, and nobody can say why”). Showing a magical insight into the imagination of small children, he allows Amandina an intense sweep of feeling before granting her no less—but no more—than her wish. The mood he casts will resonate, particularly with introspective readers.”
School Library Journal FUSE #8 Blog
“There is a very specific feeling you get from a picture book when the combination of text and image is pitch perfect. It’s a very hard thing to get, mind you. You might have a book where the words are lovely and the pictures exciting, but if the two don’t work in tandem then your end product is going to end up a merely okay bit of indistinguishable dribble. A hint of what might have been will hover over the reading experience. I mention this because I’m trying to find a way to explain why Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier is as delicately miraculous as it is. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s a Neal Porter book and Mr. Porter is known for helping to bring perfect little books into the world (see: Dog and Bear). Maybe it has to do with author/illustrator Sergio Ruzzier, whose previous books and collaborations have played effectively with tone and story. Maybe it’s the thickness of the paper or the shade of the watercolors. Maybe it’s everything altogether or maybe it’s none of this at all. Whatever the case, if you are looking for a story that is sweet but not saccharine and carries a lovely little message without beating you over the head with a didacticism stick, this is the book for you. A book designed to be the perfect gift for any 4-8 year old child.”
School Library Journal
“The artwork combines delicate lines and faded colors to create a fanciful stage for this likable character.”
“Quiet, precise, whimsical watercolor illustrations in subdued pastels enhance the surreal ambiance of Amandina’s solitary exploits. A subdued but charming tribute to determination and perseverance.”
Love You When You Whine written by Emily Jenkins. Frances Foster Books/FSG, 2006
Jenkins (That New Animal ) extols the limitless love of parents in her accounting
of the numerous patience-stretching antics of young children, which may appeal
more to the caregiver than the child. “Love you when you pour cereal on the floor.
And when you ask for every toy in the whole store,/ one after the other.”
This observant tally of misdeeds ranges from small annoyances, such as
interrupting, to larger misdemeanors like putting crayons in the dryer or
spreading jam on the computer. The same mother and child-two white, upright
cats with wide, deep-set blue eyes and outsize ears-feature in illustrations that
Ruzzier (The Room of Wonders ) fans will quickly recognize. His earthtone colors
and spare backdrops fill small, uneven portholes, surrounded by white space.
What the slightly offbeat paintings lack in the warm and fuzzy department is
made up for in the book’s reassuring message and wry humor (e.g., one spread
reads, “Love you when you paint the walls…”-a turn of the page reveals, “and the
dog”). The quirky art and missing first-person pronoun confer a subtly
avant-garde quality, while the tone evokes a parent heaving an exhausted sigh.
But the mother’s love never wavers and culminates with a big hug and
comforting tuck-in scene. “Love you, always. Yes, I do.” Youngsters will smile at
both the kitten’s tolerance-testing tricks and also the knowledge that a parent’s
devotion will withstand a bit of a whine and other transgressions. –Publishers Weekly
Hey, Rabbit! Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, 2010
The twin powers of friendship and imagination are stunningly portrayed with utter simplicity. Rabbit, with big blue eyes and a suitcase to match, meets his friends one by one, and they ask, “Hey, Rabbit! Is there anything for me in your suitcase?” Toucan asks if there’s a leaf to remind him of home, Crab wonders if there is a shell with the sound of the sea, Cat wants a ball of twine to play with. As Rabbit opens the suitcase, a full two-page spread appears with what each friend was dreaming of, floating and expanding to fill the page. Cat sees a roomful of twine, Toucan a whole jungle paradise. The all-encompassing visions embody the joy of finding exactly what one’s heart desires. At the end, when Rabbit wonders if there is anything for him, his friends all appear holding their treasures and bearing a large and beauteous turnip. The colors are soft and clear; the line is vivacious and the little anthropomorphized animals are sweet. Their satisfied imaginations fill whole pages, and friendship emanates from every wriggle.
Instead of a magician pulling a rabbit out a hat, here we have a rabbit magically producing all sorts of things from a suitcase. An ode to gift giving, Ruzzier’s latest picture book showcases his charming illustrations without letting a complicated plot get in the way. […] Ruzzier’s animals are a very appealing group, sweet and expressive with adorable little bellies, and each wish leads to a colorful and lively scene. […]
School Library Journal
As a rabbit pushes a large suitcase, many animals inquire about the contents. A toucan wonders, “HEY, Rabbit! Is there anything for me in your suitcase? Maybe a leaf to remind me of home?” Expectations are exceeded when each creature peeks inside. For example, Toucan discovers a tropical paradise full of exotic flora and fauna. More fantasies come true: a dog finds a birthday cake made of bones, a cat discovers a room full of yarn, and a hungry mouse enjoys tasting stacks of cheese. Ruzzier’s delicate ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a quirky, dreamy quality. […]
The Room of Wonders Frances Foster Books, 2006