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by Robert Kinerk & illustrated by Jim LaMarche

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-689-86972-3
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

A solitary brown bear finds new friends and the spirit of Christmas in this longer rhyming story with notable illustrations in acrylic washes and colored pencil by LaMarche. The young bear finds a suitable cave for his winter nap, with a tiny, scraggly evergreen just outside the entrance. He interrupts his hibernation to pursue a mysterious sound, meeting a crow, a moose and a pheasant family on his quest. The unusual sound that awakened the bear was the voices of children (mysteriously traveling all the way back to the bear’s den), and the group of animals locate the sound and then watch through the window as the family celebrates Christmas. The animals are filled with the spirit of Christmas themselves and, returning to the bear’s den, they spend the winter inside together, with the little tree outside the den transformed into a snowy, glowing Christmas tree. The story is too long and sentimental to interest most children, but the large-format illustrations almost make up for the wordy text. Varying perspectives in the art add vitality and keep the story moving as the helpful bear assists the other animals. (Picture book. 4-8)