The season’s turned from summer to fall since Baby Bear learned about the colors in his world (Baby Bear Sees Blue, 2012). Now, as he and Mama observe many creatures getting ready for winter, he learns to count.
In every way a lovely companion to the previous tale, this also stands well on its own. Baby Bear plies Mama with incessant questions—as preschoolers will do—and his patient parent answers and instructs. With each successive question and answer, the cub counts one more than before, from one to 10. As Mama forages for roots at the pond, Baby Bear asks, “Who is clapping for us, Mama?” “Those are the beavers,” responds Mama, “gathering twigs before winter comes.” A page turn reveals a trio of them, gnawing brush, swimming and slapping the water with an impressive, paddlelike tail. “Baby Bear counts 3.” Wolff’s lush watercolors illuminate black-inked linoleum prints. Her striking compositions play with perspective and depth of field, enabling children to enjoy bird’s-eye views as one woodpecker and then nine geese fly high, then higher, above Baby Bear. When the cub sprawls among wildflowers counting seven bees, readers are eye to eye at ground level, amid fallen apples, snails and a fuzzy caterpillar.
Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes—“too many to count”—this joyous treat will reward both family and group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)