A Birthday for Bear

A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

The creators of A Visitor for Bear return with an easy reader featuring Mouse and Bear!  It is Bear’s birthday, but Bear is much to busy to celebrate.  Bear does not like birthdays.  He doesn’t like parties, balloons, cakes or presents.  But Mouse has different ideas about how Bear should spend his birthday, and they don’t include scrubbing the house from top to bottom.  Mouse tries again and again to get Bear into a birthday mood and in the end you know he will win!

This easy reader retains the feel of the original with great humor and charm.  Becker’s writing does not feel constrained by the new format at all.  She embraces the limitations of an easy reader and turns out a delightful tale.  The illustrations are still soft-hued and domestic, a great foil for the silliness of Mouse.  This is a great odd couple for the younger set.

Highly recommended, this is an easy reader that should be in every library collection.  It is a great easy reader, but an equally good read aloud.  Appropriate for ages 4-7. 

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by BooksTogether.

Big Wolf & Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn’t Fall

Big Wolf & Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn’t Fall by Nadine Brun-Cosme, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Released December 2009.

This sequel to the lovely Big Wolf & Little Wolf continues the story of their friendship.  Little Wolf spots a special leaf in the spring and wants Big Wolf to climb up their tree and bring it down.  Big Wolf tells him to wait, that it will fall.  Little Wolf asks again in the summer and autumn, as the leaf turns into a deep green and then a soft brown.  When winter arrives, the leaf is still up in the tree, now a black color.  Then one day, Big Wolf decides to climb the tree and bring down the leaf for Little Wolf.  After a harrowing climb, Big Wolf reaches the leaf and it crumbles to pieces.  Beautiful pieces.

Brun-Cosme’s prose is lovely, spare and yet manages to be dynamic too.  She evokes the seasons, colors and wonder of each time of year without becoming maudlin at all.  There is the drama of Big Wolf’s climb and the unexpected resolution of the story that is surprising but fitting.  The first book was about the awkwardness of new friendship.  This second book is about a deepening connection and the beauty of togetherness. 

Tallec’s illustrations are less colorful this time, sticking to a more natural palette of colors.  But they still have an expansive feel, a clear sense of space, and they play with perspective.  They are simple but dynamic, just like the text.  A lovely combination.

Highly recommended, this series has its own unique feel and style.  These are quiet books, filled with natural beauty and deep connections.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Full disclosure:  My review of the first book is blurbed on the jacket of this second.  A great surprise to discover!

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Oo! Oo! Oo!

I get less excited about the big name books that garner a lot of attention and much more excited about beloved gems. 

Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff was my favorite book of 2004.  A Danish import, the book was lyrical, quiet and simply lovely.

And what has me dancing around today is my discovery that it will have a sequel!  Coming out very soon! 

Eidi is the first book of three sequels that follows one of the other Children of Crow Cove.  I am so looking forward to this title!  Let’s hope the writing is as excellent and that it keeps the unique beauty of the first.  It will be released on October 13th.