Moon Bear

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Overview

Moon Bears, or Asiatic black bears, are so named because of the white moon-shaped blaze on their chests.  The moon bears are seldom seen but their footprints, claw marks, hair, and bear nests high in the trees give us clues about how they live.  Sadly, there are now more moon bears in captivity than in the wild, as these animals are being "farmed" for their commercially valuable bile. 
 
Brenda Guiberson's lyrical text and ...

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Overview

Moon Bears, or Asiatic black bears, are so named because of the white moon-shaped blaze on their chests.  The moon bears are seldom seen but their footprints, claw marks, hair, and bear nests high in the trees give us clues about how they live.  Sadly, there are now more moon bears in captivity than in the wild, as these animals are being "farmed" for their commercially valuable bile. 
 
Brenda Guiberson's lyrical text and Ed Young's stunning illustrations combine in a winning tribute to this endagered species.  Follow one moon bear in the wild as she eats, plays, hibernates, and wakes up again in the spring.
 

Moon Bear is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Moon Bear is the true story about the Asian Black Bear, an endangered species so stunning and unique that these huge, majestic creatures among seem like imaginary creations. (Rudyard Kipling called the Moon Bear "the most bizarre of the ursine species.") Brenda Guiberson's illustrated book captures the natural cycles of these ever-hungry omnivores, who hibernate, sleep, or just nap when they're not foraging for food. Readers young and old will never forget the book's color photographs of Moon Bears with their distinctive white chest markings. Editor's recommendation.

From the Publisher

“All who read this delightful book will be enchanted by Ed Young’s evocative illustrations and Brenda Guiberson’s catchy prose.  It will give children everywhere a chance to peek into the little known world of the moon bear.  I urge you to buy it, and I hope you will do what you can to help this magnificent and highly endangered species.”  —Jane Goodall

“A worthy effort highlighting a species in need.” —School Library Journal, STARRED

“This is a beautiful book which I hope can spread awareness until every last bear is free.” —Olivia Newton-John

“Author Brenda Guiberson uses a call-and-response text to introduce young readers to an increasingly rare wild animal in Moon Bear. Dramatic cut-paper collage illustrations by Ed Young spotlight the beauty and playfulness of the moon bears.” –The Seattle Times

“Ms. Guiberson's soothing words, "blissful moon bear, feasting on juicy summer fruit" join with Young's gorgeous illustrations, shocking red raspberries against the bear's black fur, held by its sharp claws, to create a stunning view of the moon bears' world.” -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Filled with passionate conservation messages, this picture book both celebrates the endangered black moon bear in Southeast Asia and warns about the urgent threats against the species. … Young’s dramatic art lends itself to group sharing, and many kids will hear the author’s final call.” Booklist

“The young child will believe the bear is looking directly at them and will soon love moon bears. Young’s compelling illustrations fill in what words can only suggest.” Sacramento Book Review

“How fantastic to know that a percentage of the sales of Moon Bear will help those bears (and, hopefully, others to follow) live surrounded by loving care.  They deserve no less.  And that the children who read this story may be inspired to protect these carriers of such special crescent moons for years to come.” —Virginia McKenna, actress, Born Free

“This wonderful book lets you and your children share a year with the precious Asiatic Moon Bear.  I commend Brenda Guiberson and Ed Young for collaborating on such a vital issue which is so close to my heart and shines a much-needed light on this beautiful but endangered animal.” —Dr. Katrina Warren, host of Animal Planet’s Housecat Housecall

"I knew nothing about moon bears or bear farms when I picked this book up.  MOON BEAR is a book that, for young prereaders, will prove a delight at storytime.  For older readers, the back matter will very possibly inspire research and lead to subsequent contemplation of the issues involved in the all-too-frequently inhumane exploitation of all God's critters."  Richie's Picks

“Children will love this book with its stunning images and simple message – that we should value these bears as the majestic animals they were born to be, not because of what they can produce.  I’m sure this charming tale will touch many children, instilling in them a love and respect of animals from a very early age.”  —Karen Mok, singer and actress

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The text asks a series of questions: "Who blinks in the sunlight that peeks through the Himalayas?" "Who scratches the birch tree...?" On each double page a question is answered with poetic words about the moon bear, an endangered species of Asiatic black bears that we follow from spring to fall. She slurps "sweetness after months without food." "Who scritches and shuffles through soggy leaf litter?" "Curious moon bear licking up ants after the drenching monsoon." She feasts on raspberries and cherries. She climbs the mountains and zigzags down. She finally gorges on extra food, digs into a tree hollow, and makes a nest to sleep in until the next hungry spring when the mama moon bear emerges with two cubs. Young interprets this character dramatically with cut and torn papers, an almost mysterious figure whose blackness looms through the green bamboo stalks with one clawed foot as accent. She stands upright in a rocky landscape against a purple sky or reaches up in silhouette toward an orange night. The visual power is overwhelming. Note the contrasting jacket and cover. On the final pages, along with photographs of the bears, the author has described them and explained how to help them survive at the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center in China. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—The endangered Moon Bear, or Asiatic black bear, is the subject of this call-and-response tale created in partnership with the Animals Asia Foundation. Readers follow one female bear as she wakes from hibernation, explores the seasons, and awakens the following spring with new cubs. The story focuses on simple actions such as eating raspberries and swatting insects, giving young readers an idea of how these elusive bears behave. Much of the time, collage illustrations closely reflect the text, but occasionally elements are left to the imagination. For example, the Moon Bear is said to be eating near a red panda that appears nowhere on the page. Collage illustrations are a good fit for showcasing the Moon Bear's markings and large round ears. The threat of poachers and loggers is touched upon, and an author's note with photos and a Web site lets readers know how they can help this animal. A worthy effort highlighting a species in need.—Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
Kirkus Reviews
With a series of questions and haiku-like answers, Guiberson (Ice Bears, 2008) introduces young readers and listeners to bears from a far-off place. "Who plucks raspberries / and plops red scat in the tangle? Blissful moon bear, / feasting on juicy summer fruit." While much of her alliterative text focuses on the Asian Moon Bear's varied diet, the narrative covers a year in which one bear emerges in spring, forages uphill and down and hibernates again, producing cubs. Collages of textured papers, parts of photographs and varied backgrounds form the stylized illustrations. Some of the bear's white neck stripes form human silhouettes, and Young uses bear silhouettes in his endpapers. Though the art is impressive, some images are confusing, distracting from rather than supporting the text. A two-page author's note doesn't mention the bile industry directly but describes bears in cages and shows photographs of rescued bears happily playing at the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center in China. A website is included but not sources or additional information. Tempting but not nutritious. (Informational picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
Guiberson (Life in the Boreal Forest) uses lyrical call-and-response phrases to describe the endangered southeast Asian moon bear's activities, after she wakes from hibernation. “Who scratches the birch tree and licks oozing sap? Hungry moon bear, slurping sweetness after months without food.” Moon bear's dramatic shape—composed of inky-dark cut paper, with a striking, white chest blaze that gives the animal its name—contrasts against Young's (Hook) layered collages, which include photographic images of bark, bamboo, and forest floor. The moon bear marks its territory, eats (a lot), and sleeps, and as time passes, she prepares for hibernation once more; when she reawakens, she emerges a “Mama moon bear,” with cubs. Despite the dangers the bears face (an author's note features photographs of moon bears with information about farms in which thousands of them are kept), the text itself includes only a glancing mention of “poachers and loggers.” The book's subtlety—keeping the focus on the bear's peaceful everyday life, rather than the threats to its existence—is likely to inspire readers' compassion and concern. Ages 4-8. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805089776
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.14 (w) x 11.48 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Z. Guiberson has written many books for children, including Cactus Hotel, Spoonbill Swamp, and Disasters. As a child, Brenda never thought she wanted to be a writer—her dreams tended more toward jungle explorer. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and Fine Art. She started thinking about writing for children when her son went to elementary school, and she volunteered in his class and in the school library. After taking exciting trips that involved a fifty-foot cactus, hungry alligators and sunset-colored spoonbills, she wanted to create books for children that would be like a field trip. Her books are full of well-researched detail, and Brenda sees this research as an adventure—one that allows her to be a jungle explorer at last. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
 
Ed Young is a Caldecott Medalist, a two-time Caldecott Honor Book artist, and has twice been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. He has illustrated many books for children, including Cat and Rat.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Moon Bear

    This is an absolutely breathtaking book. Ed Young's artwork is amazing. Children will be captivated by this lovely picturebook and most certainly want to learn more about this magnificent animal.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mooning Over a Beautiful Bear

    The "Moon Bear" is an (endangered) Asiatic Black Bear so beautiful it seems almost like a magical creature - inky black, with white crescent accents, hence its nickname. In fact, if there is a weakness to this book it's that as good as Ed Young is, his collages don't really convey as well as the photographs at the back (or the video trailer, found elsewhere on this page) how exquisite a creature the moon bear is.That said, this is a worthy book that will enchant animal lovers among the lap-sit crowd. Guiberson's text reads like haiku as she follows the quotidian path of the moon bear: awakening, eating, foraging (so they can eat some more), napping. (This is the life for me: eat rest eat rest eat rest. Where can I line up work like this?) She answers the old rhetorical question about what bears do in the woods with finesse: "Who plucks raspberries / and plops red scat in the tangle? Blissful moon bear, / feasting on juicy summer fruit." (Although you'll probably have to explain to little listeners what "scat" is, they'll love that detail, no doubt.) An author's note includes information about the ways in which people are trying to keep the species from going extinct, which includes the creators of this book's decision to donate a portion of the profits to the Animals Asia Foundation, which works to prevent the poaching that has threatened the moon bear's existence.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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