The simplest of narratives, conveyed in lulling rhymes, follows a mother black bear and her two cubs throughout the year.
A tiny bluebird trills a note. “Spring is here / Bees hum / Bears wake up / Here they come.” The newborn omnivores first search for food, overturning logs and splashing in the water. The cubs frolic and play. Then, suddenly, in a swift page turn, it is winter again: “Spring summer fall / All day long / Bears grow big / Bears grow strong / But in the fall / When leaves turn red / Bears know soon / It’s time for bed.” The bears burrow in for their long slumber. Winter lethargy (which is different than hibernation, as the appended note explains) certainly deserves the most focus in a work with such a soporific title. However, readers might wish that the interim seasons were explored a bit more fully. Johnson and Fancher’s oil-painted bears are stunningly realistic, yet they also have a cozy fuzziness, wrapped in dark brown warmth. After the cubs sleep through the blanketing snow, the bluebird returns, completing the cycle with an echoing refrain that holds so much promise: “Here they come!”
Short stanzas (with only a few rhythmic missteps) convey the languorous feeling of a bear’s slumber. (Informational picture book. 3-6)