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Children's LiteratureSwinburne blends first-person narratives of his own fascinating and wide-ranging encounters with bears with those who study and care for them, along with pages of noteworthy "black bear facts." Did you know that black bears are found only in North America? That bears-which may or may not be literally hibernating, depending on which school of experts you consult-go through the winter without eating, defecating, or urinating? That cars on Pennsylvania's roads alone kill three hundred bears each year? That fifty years ago parents visiting Yellowstone would smear their children with honey and jelly so greedy bears could be photographed licking it off? The four main chapters of the book feature Swinburne's visit with a team of bear biologists to study bear cubs in the their den in the wild, the history of bear feeding (and current prohibitions thereof) at national parks, a portrait of a man who is a devoted foster parent to orphaned bears, and detailed information for readers on how to observe bear claw marks, bear scats, bear tracks, and other evidence of bears in their world. Illustrated with appealing photographs throughout, and including a brief bibliography and index, this offers delightful recreational reading for budding naturalists, as well as plenty of information to enrich and enliven a school report on bears. 2003, Boyds Mills, Ages 8 to 12.
— Claudia Mills