Inspired by the mother bear and cub in Blueberries for Sal, Wolff creates a gentle story for toddlers that introduces colors and images from the natural world.
Between awakening in the den and cuddling down for the night, Baby Bear’s day is full of new experiences and prescient questions. “A glow creeps in. / ‘Who is warming me, Mama?’ / asks Baby Bear. / ‘That is the sun,’ Mama says.” Page turns effectively deliver the color lessons: Silhouetted against the golden light of dawn, “Baby Bear sees yellow.” The cub sees green oak leaves waving, smells fragrant red strawberries, and hears the growl of thunder against a stormy gray sky. Wolff’s lovely compositions feature inked linoleum block prints that render those bears a strikingly deep, matte black. Lush, washy watercolors illuminate the scenes—colors in the downpour’s puddles reflect a rainbow. Curious Baby Bear is 100-percent toddler, and Wolff skillfully captures both the bear-ish (the mother’s prodigious claws and small, lipid brown eyes) and the human (smiles, tender looks and, well, dialogue). Small children notice small things, and plenty of tiny creatures—grasshopper, frog, mouse and more—await their discovery.
Imbued with a spirit of exploration, fostered by parental protection, Baby Bear’s colorful adventures will enrich repeat bedtime read-alouds. (Picture book. 2-5)