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Old Bear and His Cub

Old Bear and His Cub by Olivier Dunrea; illus. by the author Preschool Philomel 32 pp. 11/10 978-0-399-24507-7 $16.99
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RedReviewStarWhat distinguishes this from the general run of daddy-loves-you books is the degree of acknowledged reciprocity. Old Bear may stare hard at Little Cub until he eats his porridge, but when Old Bear betrays signs of a cold, he (grudgingly, eventually) gives in to Little Cub's orders to get into bed and drink some tea. The bedtime-friendly text is felicitously repetitive ("No, I won't,' said Old Bear. Yes, you will,' said Little Cub") and calmly centered in plenty of white space. White is everything to the pictures, too, surrounding fine-lined portrayals of the bear pair (one very little, one very big) with lots of snow as background for their loving battle of wills. ROGER SUTTON
PreS-Gr 1 Steeped in the battle-of-the-wills story tradition of Barbara M. Joosse's "Mama, Do you Love Me?"(Chronicle, 1991) and Margaret Wise Brown's "The Runaway Bunny"(Harper, 1942), comes this elegant, innovative parent-and-child story. On a winter's day, Little Cub playfully retorts that no, he won't tighten his scarf, or be careful on the cliff, until Old Bear "stares hard," which is enough for him to do all that he is told. Then Old Bear's worrisome cough shifts the narrative pattern and, surprisingly, it is he who won't have tea, or rest once they return home. "Old Bear loved Little Cub with all his heart/Little Cub loved Old Bear with all his heart." The dual voices work to show that the youngster's love is just as deeply expressed as the adult's. The depth of caring resonates in the orderliness and unwavering pattern of the text-on-left and picture-on-right layout. The lightly rendered illustrations are held as if on a cloud, in ample white reminiscent of Bruce Whatley's work, but more serene, heightening the attentiveness of the loving relationship. These unique, folk-art inspired vignettes, with two-dimensional décor made very white with gouache and balanced with earthy tones in watercolor pencil, evoke the freshness and visual perfection of newly fallen snow. Children will chuckle at Old Bear's long white whiskers and wonder at the row of icicles that hang from the snow-frosted A-frame of their hut. A winter story to be savored by all.-"Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
What distinguishes this daddy-loves-you book is its degree of acknowledged reciprocity. Old Bear may stare hard at Little Cub until he eats his porridge, but when Old Bear catches a cold, he (grudgingly) gives in to Little Cub's orders. The bedtime-friendly text is felicitously repetitive. Fine-lined portrayals of the bear pair with lots of snow as background set the stage.

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