Children's and YA Books I Have Shared with My Husband
Literacy Milestone: Transcribing Her First Song (+ Keeping a Diary)

Bear Hug: Katharine McEwen

Book: Bear Hug
Author: Katharine McEwen
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-7

Bear Hug by Katharine McEwen is a cozy, collage-illustrated book that uses a year in the life of a young bear to illustrate the seasons. The bear gets ready for winter and finds a companion. The two bears hibernate, and, in spring, emerge with a cub. The family spends time doing bear things during spring, summer, and fall, and then, once again, the bears start to get ready for winter. 

Bear Hug is a quiet tale that would make a soothing bedtime book. McEwen's prose is somewhat advanced, suitable for parents reading aloud to preschoolers. Like this:

"So just as Papa showed him,
he gathers leaves and bundles of bracken
to make a warm winter bed.

And just as Mama showed him,
he dives into the shivery river
to catch fat, silvery fish."

I like the use of "shivery" and the poetry of placing "silvery" in the next line. Bear Hug is something of a non-rhyming poem, a book that will stand up to repeated readings. 

But the real beauty of Bear Hug lies in McEwen's warm, cozy illustrations. The browns of the forest and the bears are everywhere in the book, off-set by the russet tones of fall, the white of winter, and the deep greens of summer. The bears are non-threatening for the youngest of readers, their affection for one another shown clearly throughout the story. The collage style makes the illustrations unique, and fills the pages with details. 

Bear Hug is aptly titled, a bear hug of a book. While the simple storyline may not work for older kids, Bear Hug is a lovely read-aloud for preschoolers. Recommended! 

Publisher: Templar Books (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher, sent for consideration for the Cybils awards

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