A HIBERNATING BEAR AND A HOLIDAY HARE by Mary Alice Sutherland

A HIBERNATING BEAR AND A HOLIDAY HARE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An author/illustrator reflects on popular topics such as animals, nature, and favorite childhood pastimes in this collection of poems and pictures.

This book features 17 poems, each including at least one accompanying illustration. The pieces’ structure and style are quite varied. Some poems are lengthier and span several pages; others are short and leave white space. The poems here are tender and relatable, such as “My Dog, Caesar,” which chronicles a child’s love for a sometimes-naughty pet, and “Cottontail Conundrum,” which contemplates why an animal who is “neither a hen nor a bird” delivers eggs during the Easter holiday. The poem “What Mice Do When It’s Raining” features fun, rhythmic phrasing (“Slippy splashy / Drippy droppy / Crashy flashy”), which children should enjoy sounding out. While the themes of the poems (including playgrounds, home, birthday wishes, picnics, and anthropomorphic wildlife) will likely appeal to young readers, the author frequently uses phrases and vocabulary that may require adult explanation. For example, the titular poem includes the lines “The hare intoned with unmitigated flair” and “I’ll zoom right away to your domicile.” The poem “Earth” asserts that “Earth is ellipsoidal.” Other pieces appear child-friendly yet end oddly. For example, in “Porcupine Quills,” the author ostensibly attempts to introduce counting concepts. The poem starts out with “0 is none / 1 is one / and 2 is double one” but culminates strangely: “Some thirty thousand quills it has! / It’s hard to comprehend a number so ginormous / The porcupine is uncommonly phe-nom-i-nous.” Still, Sutherland’s (Stories in Verses: For the Child You Love, 2016, etc.) soft, washed watercolor illustrations are quite delightful. The pictures here are integral to the poems, often mirroring the text. In “Earth,” the author skillfully fashions an interactive reading experience. The text references the images presented on subsequent pages, creatively engaging her audience: “See the tiger’s picture on the left / See the cheetah’s on the right / The boughs and leaves are up / The ground and grass are down, down.”

A nicely illustrated volume with some lovely poems.

Pub Date: July 17th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-692-89294-7
Page count: 58pp
Publisher: BoosterSeat Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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