Review: Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson

baby bear

Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson

Nelson returns with a picture book about a lost baby bear that showcases his luminous art work.  Baby Bear is lost and can’t find his way back home.  So he asks different animals about how to find his home again.  Mountain Lion suggests that he figure out how he got here.  Frog is rather busy, but tells Baby Bear not to be frightened.  The Squirrels suggest that he hug a tree.  Moose tells Baby Bear to listen to his heart.  Owl reassures him and Ram encourages him to climb high and keep walking.  Finally, Salmon leads him across the river and Baby Bear is home. 

Nelson writes with the tone of a folktale, a measured pace and a strong structure of questions and answers.  Told entirely in dialogue between the animals, the setting and action is left to the gorgeous illustrations to explain.  My favorite moment is the ending of the book where there is no family to meet Baby Bear, no structure of “home” for him to return to, just an understanding and a pure moment of realization that he IS home. 

Nelson’s art is stunningly lovely.  He uses light and perspective to really show the story.  We see Baby Bear from different angles, one amazing double-page spread just has a close up of his eyes with the moon reflected in them.  Each page is a treat visually, each building to that moment of already being home.

Shimmering and lush, this picture book will open discussions about what home is, mindfulness and following one’s heart.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers

YALSA has announced their selections for the 2014 Quick Picks list.  The list features 77 titles and three series and represents books specifically chosen for teens who do not like to read.  I always find new titles and fresh faces in this list.

They also selected a top ten:

100 Questions You'd Never Ask Your Parents: Straight Answers to Teens' Questions About Sex, Sexuality, and Health Boy Nobody (Boy Nobody, #1) How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language

100 Questions You’d Never Ask Your Parents: Straight Answers to Teens’ Questions about Sex, Sexuality and Health by Elisabeth Henderson and Nancy Armstrong

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman

Killer of Enemies Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong Proxy (Proxy, #1)

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen

Proxy by Alex London

Star Wars: Jedi Academy The Testing (The Testing, #1)

Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Casualties of War (Vietnam, #4) Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Vietnam #4: Casualties of War by Chris Lynch

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

2014 Notable Children’s Books–Younger Readers

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has selected their 2014 Notable Children’s Books list.  The Younger Readers section contains books for children preschool to age 7.  Here are the books:

Alphablock 15814436 The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Ball by Mary Sullivan

The Bathing Costume, or, the Worst Vacation of My Life by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas A Big Guy Took My Ball! Building Our House

Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas by Philippe Coudray

A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

15062342 Count the Monkeys

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

The Dark The Day the Crayons Quit Deep in the Sahara

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Deep in the Sahara by Kelly Cunname, illustrated by Hoda Hadadi

Eat Like a Bear 15815400

Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Flight of the Honey Bee Flora and the Flamingo Fraidyzoo

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Fraidyzoo by Thyra Heder

Little Santa Locomotive Lulu and the Dog from the Sea

Little Santa by Jon Agee

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita 14780587

Maria Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez

Martin & Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Mitchell Goes Bowling Moo! Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand, illustrated by Tony Fucile

Moo! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

17165875 My Father's Arms Are A Boat

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

My Father’s Arms Are a Boat by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter

My Happy Life Nelson Mandela Niño Wrestles the World

My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Old Mikamba Had a Farm On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Old Mikamba Has a Farm by Rachel Isadora

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

Penny and Her Marble Robot, Go Bot!: A Comic Reader Take Me Out to the Yakyu

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

Robot, Go Bot! by Dana Meachen Rau, illustrated by Wook Jin Jung

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon

Ten Orange Pumpkins: A Counting Book Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo

Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

Tito Puente: Mambo King by Monica Brown, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

The Tortoise & the Hare Warning: Do Not Open This Book!

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

The Watermelon Seed 17165891 The Year of Billy Miller

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Matt Phelan

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes