A tiny cub tries a very big leap but learns that growing up comes with some bumps along the way.
The sun burns orange in the sky. Short, staccato sentences (“The sun was hot. The air was hot. Even the shade was hot”) emphasize the oppressive heat. The bear cub’s father—who edges toward hyperbole—declares: “I think a pair of hot bears is probably the hottest thing in the world.” So he and his cub, who narrates the adventure, travel to the river to cool down. On the way, they jump from rock to rock. The little cub takes a cue from Dad to proclaim, “I think a jumping bear is probably the jumpiest thing in the world!” However, when the cub takes an extra-big leap, a slip on landing results in a banged knee. Dad offers to carry the cub the rest of the way, but after a bit of sulking and contemplation the little cub decides to (quite literally) pick itself up and continue. Hughes’ detailed pencil illustrations show incredible texture, from the sweeping strokes of the bears’ fur to the gnarled trees and brushy forest. Earthy tones of browns and greens fade into the pulsating yellow and orange sky.
There are lessons here to be sure, but it is a warm family story most of all. (Picture book. 2-5)