PreS-Gr 3Rascal's warm story of friendship and its magical powers of transformation is one for all seasons and generations. Orson is a big bear. He's a gregarious soul, but when he plays with the other forest animals someone always gets hurt. As a result, he is shunned and lonely and spends most of his time looking forward to hibernation. When spring wakes him, he finds a little teddy bear outside his cave and, because the stuffed toy is not afraid of him, the two become friends. Orson has never been happier. But when it's time to hibernate again, he decides that since the toy is not real, he should leave it where he found it; then, a little voice calls out to him, and he realizes his friend might be alive after all. This book is sure to win the hearts of children. Ramos's line-and-wash illustrations have a free-wheeling style that will remind readers of the work of James Stevenson and Frank Modell. Orson himself, as well as his tiny companion, will charm the hardest of hearts, and young readers will feel the big bear's loneliness as well as his joy. Though it won't displace The Velveteen Rabbit, this tale and its enigmatic ending will most certainly spark imagination and discussion.Jeanne Marie Clancy, Upper Merion Township Library, King of Prussia, PA
Nobody in the forest wants to be friends with Orson, a big brown bear, but one day, he finds a lost toy bear, and a deep, lasting friendship develops between the two. All summer, Orson wishes that the little bear would come to life; however, when fall arrives, a disappointed Orson must leave the teddy bear outside his cave to go into hibernation. But to Orson's surprise and delight (in a rather abrupt ending), his wish comes true. The illustrations, done in earth-tone watercolors, sweep across each double-page spread making the forest and its inhabitants come alive. The large pictures and the simplicity of the tender text make this a good choice for preschool story time.