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BEARS by Ruth Krauss


by Ruth Krauss & illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-027994-X
Publisher: HarperCollins

Sendak illustrates Krauss’s 1948 original with visual and thematic references to his own Wild Things, interpreting a small drama in 27 words as a tale of childhood rivalry. The cover tableau grounds the story, with Max and his teddy bear cuddled in bed as a displaced dog looks on possessively. The dog’s jealousy causes him to steal the bear and a chase ensues across the pages, all populated by bears, with a brief stop on the island where the “wild things” are, of course, bears. It’s a circular journey that begins and ends in Max’s room with Sendak’s moon shining in. The wayward dog, to his blissful satisfaction, supplants the bear at last. Is this a forgiving Max overlooking organic misbehavior? The pooch doubtless finds Max’s bed “still warm.” Sendak’s line is soft and thick, depicting dozens of non-threatening bears as large, pudgy and expressive. Readers will relish the reappearance of the iconic Max and the recognition of their own capricious allegiances. (Picture book. 3-6)