In this sweet story about separation anxiety, Mama Bear and Little Bear find a way to send kisses to each other when they are apart.
The tale begins with a familiar concern of the intended audience: “Mama Bear was always home, and that’s how Little Bear liked it. But sooner or later, all mama bears need to go away, even if it’s just for a little while.” Of course, this troubles Little Bear. What ensues is a series of touching scenes in which Little Bear and his mama establish just how much she loves him, how Little Bear will remain in her thoughts and ultimately how they can keep the many kisses they send to each other close by. Little Bear’s brilliant idea is to make boxes to hold their kisses (represented as tiny paper hearts). Debut picture-book author Verburg structures the story, inspired by her personal experience, with a steady, soothing pace. Cole complements the language beautifully with watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations evoking the classic joys of childhood: enjoying a tree swing, fishing at a pond and sharing a yummy picnic lunch. Ever-patient Mama Bear and charming Little Bear remain the focus on each framed spread. The large font and generous spacing of the text should extend the book’s appeal to newly independent readers as well.
Similar in subject matter to Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (1993), but a whole lot more artful, this fresh take will motivate younger children to create boxes of their own. (storyteller’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)