Follow along as Bear collects sap to make maple syrup.
Even as Eaton folds in lots of information, diagrams, and solid vocabulary (“spiles,” “brace,” “sugarbush”), the antics of Bear’s two sidekicks—Squirrel and Dog—will keep readers in stitches and turning pages and learning a lot about the process of maple sugaring. Eaton uses text boxes, vignettes, speech bubbles, and comics-style panels to keep readers’ interest and break up the information. A spread about maples shows four types and their different leaves. The red maple is labeled “Distinct teeth on leaves” while the dog in its branches is labeled “Distinct teeth in mouth.” Bear patiently goes through the entire process, from marking the trees and drilling the holes to collecting the sap, building an evaporator and stacking firewood, filtering the syrup and finishing it on the kitchen stove, and finally ladling it into jars. But it’s not until the final pages that her two friends, who are almost at their wits’ end by this point with how long it’s taking to make one breakfast of pancakes, finally get their much-desired treat. The gentle cartoon illustrations perfectly match the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text. Bear wears clothing; Dog and Squirrel do not. The backmatter includes a map, illustrations of evaporator and spile types and a traditional sugarhouse, an author’s note, and some resources.
Readers are sure to request both rereads and pancakes…and maybe a few spiles and buckets of their own. (Informational picture book. 4-9)