CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 17 . . . . April 29, 2005
Jennings has written successfully about abiding relationships between a parent and child before in her book Into My Mother's Arms. This time, she explores that relationship in the animal kingdom, and Mama is always there for Bearcub. With her encouragement, the little one learns so many things.
By Mama's side, Bearcub discovers how to catch a fish and how to dig for grubs. With Mama's help, Bearcub learns to climb a tree. ' Try again', Mama urges him. ' Try again '. And one day, high, high up, Bearcub finds honey.
As he grows older and stronger, Bearcub tries out his independence from Mama. On one of his "solo" discovery trips, Bearcub finds himself in the midst of a storm with blowing snow and howling winds. Of course, Bearcub wants and needs his mother, but his thoughts of her, including the lessons he has learned from Mama, especially her advice that "all storms pass," sustain Bearcub as he finds his way home. Remembering the comforting presence of Mama helps Bearcub deal with his fright and insecurities.
The art work of acrylic paint on canvass has a soft, fuzzy look but, at the same time, is rich in colour and luster. These pictures effectively work with the story line, and many feature wonderful perspectives. Bearcub's discovering his reflection in the ice along the shore is delightful. Warm, autumn tones reflect the time of year, and Watt's double page spreads of the landscape and then the increasing fierce winter storm swirling around Bearcub are beautifully captured.
Young children will be enchanted by the story and appealing illustrations. These readers will relate both to Bearcub's attachment to his mother and to his fear.
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.