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Love Songs of the Little Bear

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From Margaret Wise Brown, the author of the beloved classic, Goodnight Moon, here are four never before published poems, illustrated with stunning gouache paintings by Susan Jeffers. Celebrating the profound in everyday moments and simple things, these poems combine to tell the sweet and tender tale of a well-loved little bear. Follow him through the seasons of the year, as he experiences the wonders of the world for the first time. Together, Brown and Jeffers have created an ode to the power of parental love and...
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Overview

From Margaret Wise Brown, the author of the beloved classic, Goodnight Moon, here are four never before published poems, illustrated with stunning gouache paintings by Susan Jeffers. Celebrating the profound in everyday moments and simple things, these poems combine to tell the sweet and tender tale of a well-loved little bear. Follow him through the seasons of the year, as he experiences the wonders of the world for the first time. Together, Brown and Jeffers have created an ode to the power of parental love and the ways in which it carries a child through the joys of discovery.

About the Author:

Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, is one of the best-selling and most prolific children's authors of all time.

Four poems take a little bear through the seasons of the year.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From renowned author Margaret Wise Brown comes a beautiful collection of never-before-published poems about one lovable teddy bear. Paired with stunning illustrations depicting the the love of family, this is a worthy companion to other Brown classics such as Goodnight Moon.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This fitful collection of four previously unprinted poems by the author of Goodnight Moon proves that posthumous publication is risky business. The art, dynamically presented, has the tenderness of Jeffers's work in the McDuff series as well as the illustrator's well-developed sensitivity to nature. As Jeffers envisions the verses, a bear family explores four seasons of a world filled with fields of white daisies, streams with puddle ducks, flower-bedecked cottages and an especially picturesque snowfall. But even the beauty and sweetness of Jeffers's images, the warmth of the bear family and the varied perspectives Jeffers employs do not add enough luster to bolster the unpolished text. Little Bear's first "song," for example, includes these lines: "A little bear was singing/ In words that seemed to say/ It's a long time that/ I'll love you/ Never, never go away/ It's a long time that I'll love you/ And if I seem to stray/ It's only that I'm watching/ The flowers bloom in May." The language, unfortunately, lacks the rhythm, simplicity and long-lasting literary merit on which Brown's reputation is based. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Four of Margaret Wise Brown's previously unpublished poems have been brought together and illustrated by Susan Jeffers in this four-season look at family, love and home. "Love Song of the Little Bear" introduces a young bear and his mother as they explore the spring fields. "Green Song" finds them enjoying summer and all the garden creatures. "Song of Wind & Rain" has Little Bear exploring autumn weather with his friends before returning home. "Snow Song" presents the complete family, as Little Bear goes with his mother to the dock to meet his father and return to their warmly-glowing home. Susan Jeffers' rounded, gouache illustrations convey a sense of safety in spite of the wind's blowing and summer creatures' creeping. 2001, Hyperion, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Heidi Green
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Filled with warmth and wonder, these four previously unpublished poems take a bear cub through the seasons. In the first, the youngster is swept away by the splendors of spring. As he walks with his mother through blossom-filled meadows, he reassures her: "It's a long time that I'll love you/And if I seem to stray/It's only that I'm watching/The flowers bloom in May." In "Green Song," he takes a pail and shovel to explore a field of wildflowers where "-little things creep/In their green grass forests deep/Deep in their long-stemmed world." On a wet autumn day, the little bear ventures out with a bright yellow umbrella and listens to the rhythmic songs of the wind and the rain. The final selection, "Snow Song," has a calming, quiet pace that is well suited to the subject and makes a fitting end piece ("Snow snow/Slow slow/In the soft fall of the snow/The little boats go"). The poems use simple language, gentle repetition, familiar images, and appealing rhythms that will capture the attention and imaginations of young listeners. Varying from smaller vignettes to full- and double-page spreads, the gouache paintings tie the poems together nicely by creating a strong visual story line. The outdoor scenes are lush and inviting, and show each of the seasons at its best. Jeffers does a wonderful job of expressing the little bear's relationship with his mother and the excitement that he feels with each new experience. A delightful choice for group sharing or enjoying one-on-one.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jeffers returns to illustrating Brown (Baby Animals, 1989) as she sets four previously unpublished poems to bright, crisply detailed outdoor scenes featuring an animated teddy bear investigating an idyllic natural world. In the first, a sort of companion piece to Runaway Bunny, Bear toddles off into a field of tall May flowers, but sings to a left-behind parent that though distances may separate them, "It's a long time that I'll love you, / Never, never go away." The bear/child then bends down to examine a world in which "little things creep / In their green grass forests deep . . . ." Next he experiences as much as hears "The Song of Wind and Rain," and finally finishes with an excursion along a river bank to watch little boats go "Slow slow / In the soft fall of the snow." Though Jeffers confesses that she isn't sure whether Brown considered these rough drafts or finished pieces, they read smoothly enough, and the lovely pictures make them into small stories that capture their sense as well as their depth of feeling perfectly. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786805099
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/30/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Margaret Wise Brown
What child hasn’t been lulled to sleep -- or at least comforted -- by the gentle rhymes of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon? Brown, a former teacher, believed that very young children could be fascinated in the simple pleasures of the world around them, and created some of the most enduring and beloved children’s books of all time.

Biography

When Margaret Wise Brown began to write for young children, most picture books were written by illustrators, whose training and talents lay mainly in the visual arts. Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, was the first picture-book author to achieve recognition as a writer, and the first, according to historian Barbara Bader, "to make the writing of picture books an art."

After graduating college in 1932, Brown's first ambition was to write literature for adults; but when she entered a program for student teachers in New York, she was thrilled by the experience of working with young children, and inspired by the program's progressive leader, the education reformer Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Mitchell held that stories for very young children should be grounded in "the here and now" rather than nonsense or fantasy. For children aged two to five, she thought, real experience was magical enough without embellishments.

Few children's authors had attempted to write specifically for so young an audience, but Brown quickly proved herself gifted at the task. She was appointed editor of a new publishing firm devoted to children's books, where she cultivated promising new writers and illustrators, helped develop innovations like the board book, and became, as her biographer Leonard S. Marcus notes, "one of the central figures of a period now considered the golden age of the American picture book."

Though Brown was intensely interested in modernist writers like Gertrude Stein (whom she persuaded to write a children's book, The World Is Round), it was a medieval ballad that provided the inspiration for The Runaway Bunny (1942), illustrated by Clement Hurd. The Runaway Bunny was Brown's first departure from the here-and-now style of writing, and became one of her most popular books.

Goodnight Moon, another collaboration with Hurd, appeared in 1947. The story of a little rabbit's bedtime ritual, its rhythmic litany of familiar objects placed it somewhere between the nursery rhyme and the here-and-now story. At first it was only moderately successful, but its popularity gradually climbed, and by 2000, it was among the top 40 best-selling children's books of all time.

The postwar baby boom helped propel sales of Brown's many picture books, including Two Little Trains (1949) and The Important Book (1949). After the author died in 1952, at the age of 42, many of her unpublished manuscripts were illustrated and made into books, but Brown remains best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

More people recognize those titles than recognize the name of their author, but Margaret Wise Brown wouldn't have minded. "It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them," she once said of the books she read as a child. "And it still doesn't seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself." For millions of children who have settled down to hear her stories, she did just that.

Good To Know

When Goodnight Moon first appeared, the New York Public Library declined to buy it (an internal reviewer dismissed it as too sentimental). The book sold fairly well until 1953, when sales began to climb, perhaps because of word-of-mouth recommendations by parents. More than 4 million copies have now been sold. The New York Public Library finally placed its first order for the book in 1973.

If you look closely at the bookshelves illustrated in Goodnight Moon, you'll see that one of the little rabbit's books is The Runaway Bunny. One of three framed pictures on the walls shows a scene from the same book.

Brown's death was a stunning and sad surprise. The author had had an emergency appendectomy in France while on a book tour, which was successful; but when she did a can-can kick days later to demonstrate her good health to her doctor, it caused a fatal embolism.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Timothy Hay
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 23, 1910
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, N.Y.
    1. Date of Death:
      November 13, 1952
    2. Place of Death:
      Nice, France

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