Grandma's Bears

Overview

Gina Wilson's endearing story and Paul Howard's warmly glowing illustrations are a snug and cozy treat for any child who has ever loved a bear.

Grandma shares her cottage with bears named Arthur, Aggie, Tumtum, and Floss, and tonight Nat is going to meet them for the first time. He's a little nervous, of course. "Are they fierce?" he asks Grandma. "Not when I'm around," she replies. And sure enough, Nat discovers that Grandma's bears are full of surprises! Just like him, they ...

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Overview

Gina Wilson's endearing story and Paul Howard's warmly glowing illustrations are a snug and cozy treat for any child who has ever loved a bear.

Grandma shares her cottage with bears named Arthur, Aggie, Tumtum, and Floss, and tonight Nat is going to meet them for the first time. He's a little nervous, of course. "Are they fierce?" he asks Grandma. "Not when I'm around," she replies. And sure enough, Nat discovers that Grandma's bears are full of surprises! Just like him, they love having someone around to play with, bring treats, help with baths, read a story, and best of all, cuddle up for a good night's sleep.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wilson's (Ignis) ursine tale will envelop young readers with its whimsical scenario and a variety of realistic-looking bears with names such as Tumtum and Floss. Nat is having his first sleepover at Grandma's house, and he is a little apprehensive about the five bears who also reside there: " `Will they like me?' `They will if you like them,' [Grandma replies.] `I'll love them,' said Nat." The boy finds most of the bears confronting issues that may well be recognizable to the preschool set (e.g., getting soap in the eyes, disliking the news on TV, being troubled by the wet mess a raincoat leaves). One by one, Nat soothes and comforts his new fuzzy friends, and they repay his kindness at bath and bedtimes (e.g., "When Nat got out of the bath, [Floss] wrapped herself tightly round him"). More sophisticated readers can easily imagine Nat as the one wrestling with the obstacles ("bears") during his first night away from home. The story's intentional reversal of roles (and its turning problems into loveable, furry creatures) will promote empathy among and empower youngsters. The honey-hued walls of Grandma's cottage radiate a warmth found throughout Howard's (The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark) soft watercolor-and-crayon illustrations; several sepia-toned spot illustrations also help tell the tale. A scene depicting all the bears tucking in Nat will have youngsters longing for life-size teddy bears of their own. Ages 3-6. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ever been afraid of a bear? "Are they big? Nate asks, and Grandma replies, "Quite big." This answer does not quell his fears. But when a big black bear stands in the kitchen holding his head and moaning because, as Grandma explains, Arthur hates the rain and messes, Nate teaches the bear a game that makes him forget the rain and mess. Arthur then combs Nate's hair with his long slender leather-padded paws and Nate smiles. By taking care of more bears in trouble, Nate gains friends and comfort at the same time and forgets most of his fears. The fear of shadows, however, is hard to deal with as one hunkers down in bed, but a cuddly cub that is not afraid of shadows, helps Nate drift off to sleep. Paul Howard's gentle, warm drawings envelop the story with a quiet joy and peaceful feeling. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 up.
—Sue Stefurak
Kirkus Reviews
Nat comes to stay overnight at Grandma's and meets the bears who live with her in this slightly peculiar tale. They are big, live bears, and while Grandma puts on the kettle, lights the fire and makes dinner, Nat plays a hopping game with Arthur, distracts Aggie with doughnuts, and hides under the table with TumTum. At bath time, shaggy Floss acts as his towel, and after Grandma tucks Nat in bed, he finds Smoky the bear cub cuddling down beside him. The bears-black, brown, polar-are wonderfully drawn, and the contrast with the cozy and realistic pastel-and-watercolor interiors of Grandma's cottage is a little strange. The geography of the house is a little hard to resolve, too, as the table in the kitchen isn't the table in front of the fireplace, and then that table disappears from where it should be. If children can accept the fantasy, this will work for bedtime. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763625184
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 12.13 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Gina Wilson teaches creative writing and has written several novels for young adults, a book of poetry for children, and three picture books for young children, including IGNIS, illustrated by P.J. Lynch. Of this book she says, "If I ever have a little grandson like Nat, who comes to stay with me all on his own, I hope I have a household of bears to keep him busy until bedtime, and then a special extra bear for that scary moment when he's tucked up alone in a strange bed, in the shadowy dark. That's the kind of grandma I¹d like to be!" Gina Wilson lives in Oxfordshire, England.

Paul Howard has illustrated many books for young people, including THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK by Jill Tomlinson and FULL, FULL, FULL OF LOVE by Trish Cooke. Of this book he says, "I wanted Nat to feel at home with all the bears, so I colored them in soft pastel pencils to make him want to hug them all." Paul Howard lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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