Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Wilson and Chapman's Bear and his woodland friends became a virtual instant classic with Bear Snores On, which was quickly followed by more books in which Bear contends with other crises of early childhood. In the most recent adventure, Bear is heading home towards sunset. As the dark descends and the wind rises, Bear feels scared. Just at the point when he is truly terrified and need of a friend, all his pals who have been waiting for him, arrive as a search party. While there is a bit of a formulaic feel to this series, the books have real merit. With its strong rhythms, rhyme, and repetitive structure, the language is very appealing and lends itself well to extended activities that aim to build phonemic awareness. Furthermore, using this and the other stories in the series as read-alouds allows young children a safe way to explore and acknowledge afflictive emotions such as fear, as well as, to extend their understanding of the importance of having good friends. Moved from a picture book to a board book, the story can now be enjoyed by a younger audience and it loses nothing in the transition. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Beloved Bear gets another emotional workout, this time a frightening episode in the dark and stormy woods. While Bear is on the trail of a snack, things quickly turn windy, wet and, as Bear gets lost, downright spooky. He cries and trembles, curling up amid the gnarled roots of a huge tree until his ever-faithful band of woodland friends-who have carefully formed a proper search party-come to his aid. Via rhyming text and the repeated refrain "And the bear feels scared," Wilson and Chapman (Bear Snores On; Bear Feels Sick) once again tap into the psychology of preschoolers, exploringa common childhood emotion. Chapman's acrylics capture the motion of the blowing winds, while Bear's ultra-expressive eyes and lumbering hulk demonstrate his vulnerability; readers will immediately connect to his experience. Meanwhile, in the cozy fire-lit lair, preparations for Bear's rescue-replete with lantern and string to tie the searchers to one another-evoke warm feelings about teamwork and support. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
This likable character and his animal friends are back in one of their best outings since Bear Snores On (S & S, 2002). While walking in the woods, Bear gets lost, and the other critters begin to worry about him. They form a search party, find their friend, and return to the lair to cuddle up and fall asleep, and finally, "the bear feels safe." Wilson's rhyming text moves along at a steady clip, with only the smallest missteps in meter, and the repeated refrain begs for audience participation. Chapman's acrylic illustrations perfectly mesh realism with emotional expression; the characters show their concern for Bear, whose fear is almost palpable. The combination of full-bleed spreads, single-page paintings, and smaller insets keeps the story flowing and encourages page turns. Bear's cozy den, painted in warm oranges and browns, contrasts effectively with the outdoor scenes, done in blacks, blues, and grays. The reassuring story is simple, but speaks to children's fears and the safety they find with the people who care about them, creating a comforting and accessible forum for discussion. With its large, richly colored illustrations, this book will work equally well one-on-one or in storytime, and listeners are sure to request repeated readings.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT