Button Nose the Sad Little Bear by Gina Lobiondo. Illustrated by Brittany Wilder. Book Review.


Click on the cover to buy the book.

This picture book is in 8 x 10″ format. There is a lot of blue space on the cover and the title script is difficult to read. A bright and lively, larger picture of the bear and a clear, bold title would create more interest. Inside, we page through 11 pages before we get to the actual story. It begins,

“Once upon a time, in the time when your grandparents were small, a little bear was made. He had a soft brown body and sad, pouty little face and he was waiting for a home.”

This is a great start for a children’s picture book. We are immediately concerned that the bear might not find a home because he is pouty. We also wonder why he has that expression.

Button Nose is finally taken home to “Little Girl” who loves him and brings him everywhere. The toy is forgotten in a restaurant but, thankfully, the family comes back for him. When the girl is beginning to grow up, her mother sells Button Nose in a yard sale. His new owner ignores him and Button Nose misses the girl. Eventually he is sold to a collector and kept in a cabinet. He is deeply sad, but then one day the bear is sold again. To his surprise, his new owner is Little Girl, now grown up. She puts him in a place of honour on her bed and loves him completely.

The story ends here and the rest of the book is a 12 page photo gallery (one picture per page) of the actual Little Girl (Gina Lobiondo), her parents, her family, and Button Nose followed by 10 pages advertising the author’s other books. The story itself is 12 pages long out of a total of 45 pages. Environmentalists might find this wasteful.

The story is charming, a little like Toy Story in that toys just want to be loved and played with, or at least loved and not forgotten. I like the underlying message that love never dies and appearances, such as a pouty face, are not judge the same by everyone. Adults will find this book sweetly nostalgic.

The illustrations, set in an oval shape below the text, seem to be drawn with pencil crayon and pen. They are well done but I felt that the pictures could have been larger considering all the white space left on each page. Button Nose is also a difficult character with which to show any emotion but sadness. His expression never changes. It would be interesting to have him smile when Little Girl wasn’t looking. His emotional landscape is trapped in a pout. I think children would wonder, with concern, why the bear was pouty in every situation and with every person. I do think the packaging needs to be rethought as well.

Any preschool child with a special cuddle toy could relate to this story.


A copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.

The author will be interviewed on this blog April 5, 2017.

Pegasus, A Dragon’s Tale will be reviewed on January 16, 2017

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


One thought on “Button Nose the Sad Little Bear by Gina Lobiondo. Illustrated by Brittany Wilder. Book Review.

  1. Hi, Bonnie, glad you enjoyed Button Nose. I wanted to touch on some of the points you brought up –
    1) The cover – I experimented with different colours and fonts and settled on the one I used for the title called Little Days Alt. I felt it suited the mood of the story. Unlike Pegasus which has a full colour cover of the bears playing with the dragon, I wanted something much simpler with Button Nose. I liked the dark blue as it turned the lettering white, which I really liked as well. You mentioned the lettering being hard to read – I think that any fuzziness is from the printer as it’s very sharp and clear on my computer. I did try to get the photo of the bear larger, but it kept knocking the by lines into a 2nd page, which kinda defeated the purpose. 😉 I had the same problem getting the illustrations larger. I don’t have the faintest idea how to use Photoshop and there’s only so much that can be done in Word. You were right about the illustrations being done in coloured pencil and a highlighting marker.
    2) The story itself is actually 21 pages long and the book is 54 pages. The beginning has a dedication and 4 pages of all my reviews up to the point where I published the book. The photo gallery and my other books are in the back.
    3) To date, Button Nose has won 5 awards – the Mom’s Choice Award, the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, the IndiePENdents Seal of Good Writing, the Santa Choice Award and the Marriah Media Gold Award! The kids…and adults…have all loved it. =D
    Anyway, hope your readers enjoy it as well! =D I look forward to the interview in April!


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