An introduction to black bear yearlings from nature photographer/author Holland.
Readers meet Yodel and his family (the cubs cannot be differentiated in the photos) as they “are just waking up from a long winter’s nap.” The cubs will have another six months to learn survival skills from their mother before they will have to “say goodbye” to her. (Holland anthropomorphizes the bears’ feelings and actions throughout.) Yodel’s days are filled with napping, grooming, chewing sticks, playing with his siblings, nursing, and looking for food. When their mother leaves them to find food, the cubs climb the “babysitter tree” until her return. The few short sentences with easy vocabulary on each page make this ideal for young children and new readers. Holland’s photos include some great shots of the babysitter tree, the family group, and the brothers wrestling. Several, though, are more difficult to make out; the bears’ black fur makes them blend into one another and into background tree bark. Backmatter explains the difference between torpor and hibernation and includes two activities: one identifying what black bears eat from among 11 photos and the other matching descriptions of evidence of black bears to photos. Answers are right-side-up at the bottoms of the pages. The lengthy sentences and tougher vocabulary (which includes more scientific words, though, sadly, the verbs “pee” and “poop” are not augmented by less-juvenile terms, as the noun “poop” is by “scat” in a different section) in the backmatter are aimed at more-able readers than the rest of the text. A Spanish-language edition, Yodel, el chiquitín, publishes simultaneously.
A nonfiction introduction to black bear yearlings for the youngest children. (Informational picture book. 3-8)