PreS—First seen in Baby Bear Sees Blue (S & S, 2012), the curious cub returns in this fall-themed counting book. Mama Bear gently answers Baby Bear's questions about who is making a noise as he counts different animals gathering food, migrating, or dashing through the woods and fields in preparation for winter. Each spread includes onomatopoeic words to suggest the animal to both children and the bear. Wolff's stunning linoleum block and watercolor illustrations are suffused with autumn light and color, and the creatures appear to swim, fly, and jump off the pages. Extreme close-ups are juxtaposed with larger framing illustrations that celebrate the season, the creatures portrayed, and the playful bear. Successful as a counting book, an autumnal celebration, and a cozy book to share either one-on-one or in a group, this title will be warmly welcomed in all libraries.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Wolff follows Baby Bear Sees Blue with a counting-themed sequel built around tender mother-child exchanges. Winter is approaching, but Baby Bear still has curiosities that need to be satisfied, especially with so many strange noises around him. A “Whap! Whap! Whap!” signals three beavers “gathering twigs before winter comes” and “gobble” sounds belong to six gloriously feathered turkeys seen feasting on bunches of deep purple grapes. Wolff devotes two spreads to nearly every number, creating a leisurely pace and giving children and parents time to count the creatures while examining the many secondary details packed into each woodland scene. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)
September-October 2013 Horn Book Magazine
"The curious young bear from Baby Bear Sees Blue (rev. 3/12) is once again exploring his world with his mother, and in this multiple-concept book (counting/animal sounds/seasons) he learns that, in preparation for winter, woodpeckers hunt for beetles, squirrels gather acorns, deer and crows munch on sweet corn, etc.... Wolff’s art (hand-colored linoleum blocks) is glorious, capturing the withered cornstalks, brown leaves, and fallen apples of late autumn while also conveying the busyness and vibrancy of the season...the loving bond between Baby Bear and his mama is as secure and comforting as ever, with the cozy ending seeing the two curled up together in their den as the first snowflakes of winter fall, “too many to count.”"
The season's turned from summer to fall since Baby Bear learned about the colors in his world (Baby Bear Sees Blue, 2012). Now, as he and Mama observe many creatures getting ready for winter, he learns to count. In every way a lovely companion to the previous tale, this also stands well on its own. Baby Bear plies Mama with incessant questions--as preschoolers will do--and his patient parent answers and instructs. With each successive question and answer, the cub counts one more than before, from one to 10. As Mama forages for roots at the pond, Baby Bear asks, "Who is clapping for us, Mama?" "Those are the beavers," responds Mama, "gathering twigs before winter comes." A page turn reveals a trio of them, gnawing brush, swimming and slapping the water with an impressive, paddlelike tail. "Baby Bear counts 3." Wolff's lush watercolors illuminate black-inked linoleum prints. Her striking compositions play with perspective and depth of field, enabling children to enjoy bird's-eye views as one woodpecker and then nine geese fly high, then higher, above Baby Bear. When the cub sprawls among wildflowers counting seven bees, readers are eye to eye at ground level, amid fallen apples, snails and a fuzzy caterpillar. Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes--"too many to count"--this joyous treat will reward both family and group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)
Ashley Wolff is the author/illustrator of more than sixty books for children, including Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson, Baby Beluga by Raffi, the modern-classic Miss Bindergarten series by Joseph Slate, and her own celebrated Baby Bear Sees Blue and Baby Bear Counts One. She lives in San Francisco and Vermont with her husband and their border collie, Tula. Visit her at AshleyWolff.com.