Cub's Big World

Overview

Cub knows all about the familiar world in the snow den where she was born. When she follows Mom out of their den, tumbling into the Arctic wilderness, she finds that the world under the wide blue sky is big, big, BIG! It’s easy to be curious when there’s so much to explore—and when Mom is nearby. But when she thinks she’s all alone, can Cub be brave?

With spare, lyrical words and paintings that are both dramatic and intimate, Cub’s Big World tells a tender story of ...

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Overview

Cub knows all about the familiar world in the snow den where she was born. When she follows Mom out of their den, tumbling into the Arctic wilderness, she finds that the world under the wide blue sky is big, big, BIG! It’s easy to be curious when there’s so much to explore—and when Mom is nearby. But when she thinks she’s all alone, can Cub be brave?

With spare, lyrical words and paintings that are both dramatic and intimate, Cub’s Big World tells a tender story of new experiences, homecoming, and the love between a parent and child.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Pleasingly realistic yet reassuringly sweet…
Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
“Mom was big and white and warm,” writes Thomson (Around the Neighborhood: A Counting Lullaby), and even though Cepeda paints the polar bear’s fur in buttery yellow, his thick, bold brushstrokes instantly convey the totality of a mother’s embrace: “Inside the world were Mom and Cub. And that was all.” One day, Mom and Cub venture out of their den, and amid all the wonders Cub realizes how easy it is to lose Mom. Even the one thing that makes Mom stand out in a “white, white world”—the black of her nose—can’t be counted on: ermine have black tails, and seals have black noses. Cepeda (The Tortoise or the Hare) continually reveals the landscape from different angles and with surprising colors; in the seal vignette, he looks up at Cub as she peeks through a hole in the ice into the green-blue water below. Thomson’s calm voice makes it clear that Mom’s absence is only temporary, so readers can or snuggle up and relish this big polar world, gorgeously and inventively imagined. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Thomson's personification of Mom and Cub, along with her measured, soothing text, make for an agreeable, affirming story for both one-on-one and group sharing."
Kirkus

"The suspense is toddler-perfect, with Mom appearing the moment it all become's too much. . . Lap-sit ready, with a built-in hug at the end."
The Horn Book Magazine

"Thomson's calm voice makes it clear that Mom's absence is only temporary, so readers can snuggle up and relish this big polar world, gorgeously and inventively imagined."
Publishers Weekly

"A great deal of warmth permeates this lovely story of the cold arctic and a polar bear cub's first exploration outside the cave in which he was born. . . A nice addition to collections for the youngest tots."
Booklist

"Vivid but not flowery, gentle but exciting, Thomson's measured voice expertly captures the wonder and fear of a young child exploring unfamiliar territory alone. . . . Cub's Big World is a big must-have."
School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
This quiet tale about a polar bear cub discovering the great big world for the first time, under his mother’s watchful eye, is a perfect bedtime story for little ones just reaching the age of curiosity. Little cub knows only a small, cozy world that contains just himself and his mother. But one day, his mother takes him from the small, close world of their cave into the great big world beyond. As cub explores the wonders of this new, open space, he loses sight of his mother. Feeling lost and alone in a snowy landscape, cub searches for his mother’s black nose, the one characteristic that sets her apart from the whiteness of the surrounding snow. But time and again, he discovers hints of black in creatures that are not his mother, like the raven, the seal and the ermine, until just as he begins to give up hope; cub’s mother appears to assure him that she has been there, watching him all along. Reminiscent of the classic Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman, this story is a heartwarming reminder of the special bond that mothers share with their children. The soft brushstrokes in Cepeda’s illustrations bring warmth to the frozen landscape that provides a backdrop to the cub’s tale, making this book a perfect choice for a read-aloud while cuddling in warm blankets on a cold day. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles; Ages 3 up.
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
PreS-K—Cub's world has been small and white, with just her mother in an icy cave. One day, it is time to leave the cave, and the outside sights and sensations are thrilling. Cub slides "down, down, down" a slippery hill, "fast, fast, fast! The world was fun!" until she cannot find her mother. She looks for Mom's black nose among the stark white, but is fooled several times by other wildlife (captured by the heartbreaking sentence, "The world was too big for a cub with no mom."). The young bear is found at the end and reassured that her mother will be "close by till you're big, too." Vivid but not flowery, gentle but exciting, Thomson's measured voice expertly captures the wonder and fear of a young child exploring unfamiliar territory alone. Cepeda's full-spread oil and acrylic paintings, in cool tones of white, blue, purple, and brown, evoke the cold, desolate beauty of the Arctic as well as the warm, loving emotions of parent and child. This story will play well with the storytime crowd, can be enjoyed independently by beginning readers, and will certainly make for a cozy one-on-one experience. Cub's Big World is a big must-have.—Rebecca Dash Donsky, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-25
A polar bear cub experiences her first adventures outside the security of the den--but still seeks her mother's reassuring presence. When Cub exuberantly tumbles down a slope, she's separated from her (still watchful) mother. Seeking Mom's remembered black nose, she instead encounters a squawking raven, an ermine's black-tipped tail and a diving harp seal. In elegantly simple language, Thomson conveys the acute dependency of the toddler: "The world was too big for a cub with no mom." Two page turns later, the playful reunion's complete--with a sneak peek at Mom for observant children. Cepeda's full-bleed acrylic-and-oil paintings utilize the (unreferenced) northern lights for a vibrant color palette of azure, lavender and green. The snowscape, influenced by the morphing light show, is alternately ice-blue, pale gray-green, ecru and mauve. Painterly strokes lend texture and weight to Cub and his adventure; shifting perspectives ensure that the snowy terrain looks ever-exciting. Thomson's personification of Mom and Cub, along with her measured, soothing text, make for an agreeable, affirming story for both one-on-one and group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544057395
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 697,923
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah L. Thomson is a former children's book editor who now writes books for young readers from her home in Maine. www.sarahlthomson.com

Joe Cepeda is the illustrator of many vibrant and popular picture books, including The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison and Cub's Big World by Sarah L. Thomson. He lives in Southern California. www.joecepeda.com

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