Baby Bear

Overview

From Kadir Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, comes a transcendent picture book in the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown about a lost little bear searching for home.

This simple story works on so many levels: as the tale of a bear who finds his way home with the help of his animal friends; as a reassuring way to show children how to comfort themselves and find their way in everyday life; and on a more philosophical ...

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Overview

From Kadir Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, comes a transcendent picture book in the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown about a lost little bear searching for home.

This simple story works on so many levels: as the tale of a bear who finds his way home with the help of his animal friends; as a reassuring way to show children how to comfort themselves and find their way in everyday life; and on a more philosophical level, as a method of teaching readers that by listening to your heart and trusting yourself, you will always find a true home within yourself—and that even when it feels like you are alone, you never really are.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Editorial Reviews

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Nobody tells a story with pictures better than Kadir Nelson. This Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and Illustrator Award-winner knows how to take kids along on journeys that gain their sympathies even as they teach them valuable lessons. In Baby Bear, the lessons are about gaining self-confidence even in the midst of a troubling situation. A wonderfully reassuring bedtime story.

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
In Nelson's hands, the natural world is enviably ruled by kind intentions and respect.
Publishers Weekly
★ 10/21/2013
Nelson (Nelson Mandela) builds his tale on the simplest bedtime-story scaffolding: a bear cub loses its way home and asks other forest animals for help. What distinguishes Nelson’s creation is an atmosphere of loving-kindness and the affirmation of Baby Bear’s ability to make the journey alone. Even animals that appear intimidating (a mountain lion, a moose) offer reassurance. These nighttime encounters unfold against a background of rich cobalt blue, bathed in the orange light of the full moon. “You are not alone, Baby Bear,” says an owl in a tree. “I am here with you. You only need look up and keep going.” Softly brushed oil paintings convey intimacy by getting right up close. One spread zeroes in on Baby Bear’s moist black nose, the moon reflected in its shining eyes. In another sweet-tempered scene, a salmon leads Baby Bear home (“If you promise not to eat me, I will show you the way”), the fish swishing through the water while Baby Bear paddles behind. It’s easy to imagine the tension leaving anxious bed-goers as they realize that Baby Bear is always safe. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)
New York Times Book Review
“In Nelson’s hands, the natural world is enviably ruled by kind intentions and respect.”
Wall Street Journal
“A final picture book, filled with moody, sumptuous paintings, evokes the feelings of trust and vulnerability that small children are liable to experience in a world so much bigger than they are.”
Shelf Awareness
“Kadir Nelson’s exquisitely understated picture book charts a bear cub’s journey to find his home, with helpful advice from his fellow woodland creatures.”
Children's Literature - Christi Bigony
A scared, lost Baby Bear is the center of focus in this beautifully illustrated picture book. The reader follows Baby Bear as he navigates his way through the moonlit wilderness, conversing with various animals on how to find comfort or direction as he searches for his home. Each animal is quick to offer advice, either practical or emotional, to aid Baby Bear in his quest. The stunning illustrations add a real element of depth to each of the characters in the tale. The details in the images make the animals appear to be alive. Many of the images are very close up, showing realistic creatures with hints of emotion displayed on their faces. In the reading of this book, children will hear advice on how to comfort themselves when they are scared or unsure of their surroundings. While it is a rather easy read, intended for ages four to eight, children of all ages will appreciate the illustrations, as they are true works of art. The ending of the book is a bit confusing, as the reader would expect “home” for Baby Bear to equate to a family; but no other bears appear during this scene. Overall, the story is calm and serene and offers practical advice to young children on dealing with situations outside of their comfort zone. Reviewer: Christi Bigony; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
01/01/2014
PreS-Gr 1—A glorious full moon illuminates a blue-black wilderness as a scared and lost Baby Bear seeks his way home. He deferentially asks various animals for help. Each creature offers a different suggestion on how to find his home. Some of the advice is practical as Mountain Lion tells him to "retrace your steps," some of it is silly as the squirrels suggest that he "hug a tree," and some is just clichéd as Moose says, "listen to [your] heart. It speaks as softly and sweetly as a gentle breeze. And it is never wrong." Salmon is the last one to help Baby Bear, swimming with the cub and then instructing him to climb up and see his home at last. Relieved, the little bear beholds a splendid sunrise over the river valley, the same view as depicted in the front endpapers of the book, but now bathed in light. Most young children equate "home" with "family," and the fact that no other bears appear is disconcerting. Nelson's luscious oils on canvas are as breathtaking as ever, and his superb, almost life-sized, depictions of these creatures in their natural environment hold a wonder of their own. Unfortunately, the saccharine narrative and less-than-satisfying resolution make Baby Bear an additional purchase at best.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-23
The award-winning Nelson turns from nuanced treatments of historical subjects to this exploration of a classic preschool trope: a lost animal's search for home. Baby Bear wanders before a huge, rising full moon, encountering a succession of forest animals. Each—whether a frog caught midmunch or a towering, pensive moose—offers a bit of gentle advice. Strung together, these gems could stand as a guide to life for readers of all ages: Retrace your steps. Trust yourself. Hug a tree. Listen to your heart. Climb a little higher. Sing a song. Look up and keep going. Yet owing to Baby Bear's childlike vulnerability, all this imparted wisdom can be psychically tough to implement in the moment. There's poignancy in certain spreads, in which Baby Bear tries enacting just-received advice. When Moose asks "Hello, Baby Bear. / What are you doing?" Baby Bear demurs: "Uh, nothing." (The cub's hugging a tree, on counsel of a couple of squirrels.) Nelson's marvelous oils play with light and alternating perspective. Against the starlit, velvet-blue sky, the luminous moon picks out the whiskers and tawny fur of Mountain Lion. It's dawn when Salmon leads Baby Bear through the final leg of the journey home. Integral endpapers frame the story: At front, golden moonlight pools in a river bend; at back, the sun's rays pour over the ridge. Children will enjoy spotting several of the narrative's animals in miniature. Resonant. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062241726
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 26,739
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kadir Nelson won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award. Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. He is also the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Baby Bear.

Kadir Nelson won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award. Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. He is also the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Baby Bear.

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