With a subject not quite as underappreciated as their previous book’s (Vulture View, 2007) but giving it just as stunning treatment, Sayre and Jenkins follow a bear’s eating habits throughout the year.
A grizzled, lumbering bear wakes up in the springtime. What is there to eat? The bear sniffs the air. Crunches a few dandelions. Pause. “With long, strong claws, / dig in. Dig down. / Paw and claw and pull. / Find … // … ants! / Chew them, / sour and squirming. / Lick your lips.” As the months go by, bears eat many different types of food. Often thought to be powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, bears find that delicate berries and pine cones are tasty treats too. Sayre does not shy away from the carnivorous meals, but gruesome details happen off the page. Jenkins creates incredible scenery full of majestic mountains, crisp streams and a sublimely textured bear. (The bear’s fuzzy coat is created with handmade fig-bark paper—a fruit, which given the opportunity, a bear would likely love to munch!) Key food-finding action words such as drink, search, forage, hunt, gather and eat lead up to perhaps the most important one of all: prepare. The bear, full from months of feasting, settles down into a warm, cozy den.
Inquisitive, informed and lyrical; an intriguing extension to hibernation classics. (appended facts, author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-8)