Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Old Bear

Old Bear

Fall 2008 Picture Books
Ages: 2 - 7 yrs.
Author: Kevin Henkes
ISBN: 978-0-06-155205-2
Hardcover Price: $17.99
As he did in Kitten's First Full Moon, Henkes once again sets up the rhythm of this simple story through careful attention to layout: two single bordered pages showing a big round bear asleep in his den (so big and round he touches the edges) give way to a series of double page panoramas depicting bear's multi-hued dreams as he hibernates through the long cold winter. Next comes a page divided into four sections showing bear tossing and turning before returning to two bordered single page close-ups of a gigantic bear-yawn and bear-sniff which provide a neat balance to the two opening pages. The final double-page spread spills bear out into the newly reborn world of spring. Henkes also returns to the sensuously fat lines and candy box colors he used so successfully in A Good Day, this time with somewhat mixed results. Some of the paintings are truly stunning in their impact: the blue-hued scene of a small fat bear staring raptly at the winter sky alive with an equally fat moon and awash with winter lights. Others are much more difficult to decipher: the rose-tined picture of bear's autumn dream, for example, is an indistinct jumble of reds and yellows when viewed from a distance. Preschool teachers, perennially in search of books about the seasons, will nevertheless welcome this addition to their collections.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

Look for this product at:
HarperCollins Children's Books/ Greenwillow Books

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