Old Bear

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Overview

Come explore the four seasons with Old Bear

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book (starred review)
“Classically and timelessly simple…another winner for very young children.”
New York Times Book Review
“Kindergartens and preschool classes studying the seasons will no doubt embrace this book.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Elemental words and graceful pacing make this a perfect read-aloud for preschoolers.”
Horn Book
"Classically and timelessly simple…another winner for very young children."
Booklist
"Elemental words and graceful pacing make this a perfect read-aloud for preschoolers."
Horn Book (starred review)
“Classically and timelessly simple…another winner for very young children.”
New York Times Book Review
“Kindergartens and preschool classes studying the seasons will no doubt embrace this book.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Elemental words and graceful pacing make this a perfect read-aloud for preschoolers.”
Pamela Paul
…story and minimal text [are] finely pitched to a toddler's level…Exquisite.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In time for autumn, Henkes (Kitten's First Full Moon) masterfully tells of a hibernating bear who "dreamed that spring had come and he was a cub again." Henkes's surefooted art guides readers through time: a terracotta dust jacket and acorn-brown frontpapers inked with dark brown leaves set the season. The tawny bear, pictured in full-page or four-to-a-page images, curls in his den, his eyes closed and his paws relaxed. Full-bleed spreads depict his dreams, first of being small among enormous flowers ("He took a nap in a giant pink crocus"), then of wandering on lush green summer hillsides ("The sky clouded over, and it rained blueberries"). His hibernation vision of fall includes rust-colored birds and orange fish, and his imaginary winter is a cool blue expanse under stars "of all colors." When the bear's eyes open on a real spring day, he feels refreshed, if larger and older than his dream self. Lyrically describing the young-at-heart, Henkes plays an artist's game of hot and cold watercolor hues. Lilac endpapers crowded with flowers and butterflies and a back cover image of the bear in springtime balance the cover's imagery and gently and calmly acknowledge the annual cycle. Ages 2-7. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal

PreS-K

Henkes cleverly begins his story on the front jacket. Against a backdrop of red leaves and drifting snowflakes, a large and endearing molasses-colored bear, defined by sturdy dark brown lines, strides across the page. His journey continues through the opening spreads: it is obvious that this creature knows exactly where he is heading. By the time the story actually begins, Old Bear has found his den and lies sound asleep, oblivious to the swirl of winter around him. Dreams comfort him: once more a cub and surrounded by the colors of spring, he naps in a giant pink crocus. His dreams turn to summer where a daisy sun shines in the sky, leaves appear as butterflies, and clouds rain tasty blueberries. Old Bear dreams on through the seasons. Then, one day he awakens, stretches, and heads out into the real world where he is met with flowering trees, butterflies and tulips, and a glistening lake. Now, Old Bear is part of the wonder. As he did in Kitten's First Full Moon , Henkes has created a thoroughly delightful character filled with curiosity and sweetness and placed him in a simple tale that unfolds with a natural, rhythmical pace. And to fill out his cyclical story, the artist provides autumnal front endpapers and contrasting vernal back endpapers. Opportunities to introduce the seasons, colors, and animal hibernation abound. Old Bear will enrapture young listeners for years to come.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Kirkus Reviews
When Old Bear sleeps, he dreams of being a cub and of the changing seasons. When he wakens and steps out into the soft pastels of Henkes's spring, he does not feel the passage of time, and in expression and carriage he exudes youthfulness. Many careful choices are made in a book that only seems uncomplicated. As bears go, smiling Old Bear looks as friendly as the teddies children cherish. His benign but shaggy appearance will invite them to learn many concepts, in the gentlest and most implicit way: youth and age, hibernation and renewal, the passage of seasons. Watercolor-and-ink paintings are bright but delicately hued. Bear's bold outline changes with the palette of each season. His fanciful dreams, as well as the spring "reveal," are full bleed, double-page spreads while other illustrations are neatly framed, emphasizing the ursine bulk. Confident, harmonious and sweet. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062089632
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 696,810
  • Age range: Up to 2 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes has been praised both as a writer and as an illustrator. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon; a Caldecott Honor for Owen; two Newbery Honors, one for Olive's Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller; and a Geisel Honor for Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.

Kevin Henkes has been praised both as a writer and as an illustrator. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon; a Caldecott Honor for Owen; two Newbery Honors, one for Olive's Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller; and a Geisel Honor for Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2013

    I'm not a big fan of all Kevin Henkes' books, but, lately, his p

    I'm not a big fan of all Kevin Henkes' books, but, lately, his picture books have been astonishingly lovely. 
    Old Bear, like Kitten's First Full Moon, is a sweet, gentle tale, but unlike Kitten, Old Bear is at the end of his life and he dreams about becoming a cub again. He first dreams that Winter has passed into Spring and that he is sleeping inside a giant crocus. Kevin Henkes takes us through the rest of the seasons with the same amount of imagination, humor and brilliant-hued illustrations. Even the fly-leafs boast outstanding artwork. 
    After Kitten and Old Bear, I can't wait to read (and probably buy) his next picture book.

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  • Posted December 27, 2012

    This book was given to my son as a gift and we have delighted in

    This book was given to my son as a gift and we have delighted in reading this sweet tale ever since. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Wonderful book!

    My two year old loves this book. We read it again and again! It is a permanent fixture on our coffee table. Kevin Henkes always delivers a great read. "Kitten's First Full Moon" was my oldest son's favorite. I would recommend anything by this author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautiful picture book!

    Kevin Henkes never disappoints. My two year old nephew was glued to the beautiful illustrations. A simple, but lovely portrayal of the four seasons.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Beatuiful, Peaceful Bears, the most beautiful on Earth.

    Bears are the most wonderful animals on Earth. They dream on Winter to be happy, as they are in Winter too, same as the rest of the year, sharing with their brothers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

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    Posted November 13, 2008

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    Posted December 9, 2008

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    Posted January 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

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