________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 3. . . .September 17, 2010



Claudia Rueda. Translated by Elisa Amado.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2010.
44 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-0-88899-991-7.

Subject Headings:
Bears -Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

***½ /4



“It’s time to go to sleep,” said mother bear. “No,” said little bear. “I don’t want to go to sleep.”

“You’ll freeze out here,” said mother bear. “I’m not cold,’” said little bear.

“There’s no food to eat,” said mother bear. “I saved some berries,” said little bear

Winter is here, but little bear is not ready to hibernate. For every warning his mother gives him about impending dangers (freezing cold, deep snow, long winter, strong winds etc), he has a retort and a reason why he won’t be scared. He continues to play, regardless of his mother’s cautions, until a frightening snowstorm begins in earnest. Finding himself all alone in a sea of white, little bear rushes anxiously to his mother. Saving face, he tells her, “Mamma, I’m back, winter is very long and you might get lonely.”

     internal artThe simple storyline with just a few words per page is matched by the minimalist illustrations. The vastness of the landscape is captured through large, double-page spreads depicting the adventurous little bear enjoying the sights and sounds of the impending storm. Each scene is portrayed using a limited number of muted tones that accurately reflect the surroundings and encroaching weather conditions. Despite the brevity of the story and the starkness of the illustrations, the book succeeds in capturing the atmosphere of the harsh winter environment as well as the warmth of the relationship between a mother and her young. The author is obviously familiar with the psychology of young children and their need to test limits while knowing the security of home awaits them if necessary.

      Claudia Rueda is a Colombian author-illustrator and winner of several prestigious awards for her previous works, which include My Little Polar Bear and Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around. She has written educational books for UNICEF and has a background in law and art. This book, ably translated by Elisa Amado, has made a successful transition from the Spanish version of the same title.

      The story makes a dramatic read-aloud, and, with its large illustrations, it would be ideal for story-times aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. Teachers and library workers, in both school and public libraries, will find No versatile when creating theme related lessons and programs. It is a lovely book, one which will delight young children aged 2-5 and would make an attractive addition to any library, classroom or individual bookshelf.

Highly Recommended.

Aileen Wortley, a retired librarian, lives in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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