When Bear Came down from the Sky

When Bear Came down from the Sky

by Tree de Gerez, Lisa Desimini

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``In the days when stones were turnips and kept growing and growing and growing''-so begins de Gerez's graceful adaptation of a Finno-Ugric folktale. The story concerns Bear, the constellation ``who lived in the sky with his family of stars'' but who is filled with curiosity about Earth. Sky Father, weary of the bruin's badgering, suggests he go and investigate and-in a whimsical touch-Bear descends in ``a basket of gold coins with a long, long, silver, shining chain.'' His ensuing explorations and discoveries culminate in the first snowfall, when Bear heeds Sky Father's advice to ``sleep half the winter.'' Desimini's familiar deep colors, flattened perspectives and overall stylized approach lend an appropriate folk-art feel to these fanciful proceedings, but her Bear suffers somewhat from an absence of facial expressiveness. Though short on action, this slight tale is long on charm (despite occasional repetition), and de Gerez's straightforward, often poetic prose (text on some pages is arranged in poetic stanzas) adds spirit to an unusual myth. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-With the voice of an experienced storyteller, de Gerez retells this tale from the Finno-Ugric culture. Children will empathize with curious Bear, who is happy in his celestial home, but who has many burning questions about Earth and its inhabitants. Sky Father tells him to go find out for himself, but warns that he will not be able to return. Bear chooses to come to Earth, and he is lonely until the Lady of the Green Dress and her husband, Keeper of the Big Word, welcome him to their forest and name him Honey Paw. The seasons change and all of the animals leave Bear behind. But he remembers that Sky Father told him to hibernate, and he sleeps peacefully through the winter. The narrative flows smoothly and is written in a conversational style. The introduction sets the story ``In the days when stones were turnips...'' and ``...when the sky was so low it had to be propped up with an old soup spoon...'' Desimini's oil paintings reflect brilliant celestial blues and greens as well as the woodsy shades of the forest. The style is similar to her work in Jerrie Oughton's How the Stars Fell Into the Sky (1992) and Magic Weaver of Rugs (1994, both Houghton), but is somewhat stiff and merely echoes the text. Although the artist does an excellent job of conveying Bear's isolation, he often seems frozen in a scene. The text could stand on its own for an effective storytelling session. An unusual multicultural selection.-Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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