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BEAR HUG by Katharine McEwen


by Katharine McEwen ; illustrated by Katharine McEwen

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6630-9
Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

A childlike version of a bear’s life story.

Recognizing that winter is coming, a young bear prepares, just as he learned to do from his parents. He makes a warm bed in his cave, catches fish and finds berries to eat, and finds a companion for the long winter’s sleep. They wake up in the spring to another season and a cub to teach in turn. This sweet story of Mama and Papa raising their child together is, sadly, directly contrary to the facts of brown bear life. Brown bears are usually solitary. Like nearly 30 percent of the children in this country, bear cubs are raised by a single parent. Male and female parents share neither winter dens nor parenting duties. McEwen has illustrated her idyllic depiction of family life with appealing earth-toned collages. The bears’ natural world includes stylized trees and snowflakes, a “shivery river” filled with “fat silvery fish,” and grand birds. At one point, the family perches on a bee tree from which one parent pulls a ribbon of honey. Some illustrations are full-bleed, sometimes extending across a spread, while others spill out of a background frame. The gentle text, set in a very thin serif type, is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the textured background.

Romantic and attractive but ultimately unsatisfying.

(Picture book. 2-4)