Review by Marlene Perry
This story is all about the mother and
child relationship, exuding a warm, fuzzy feeling that will envelop
the reader as well as the child. The story line is familiar and
comforting, the text simple and warm, and the illustrations gentle
and appealing. For a simple, caring "mother and child story," you
can't go wrong with this book.
"Snow Bears" begins with Mommy Bear
joining her three cubs outdoors for an afternoon of winter play. The
cubs are already snowy, and the mother remarks, "You look like snow
bears." As children do, the three cubs begin to make believe and are
no longer her baby bears but claim to be three "snow bears"
who don't know their real identities. As mommy bears do so well, she
goes along with the game.
"But where are my baby bears?" asks
Mommy Bear. "I don't know where we are," said the biggest snow bear.
"I haven't seen us," said the middle-sized bear. "We aren't here,
Mommy Bear," said the smallest snow bear.
The winter frolic continues until the
babies are cold and want to go home. Mommy Bear mentions her cubs'
favorite warm toast treat, and to her feigned surprise these three
snow bears love the same treat! As mother is preparing the treat,
the snow bears begin to warm up by the fireplace -- drip, dripping
-- and start to revert to their real selves.
"Something's happening to us," said the
biggest snow bear. "We're starting to drip," said the middle-sized
bear. "We're melting away," said the smallest bear.
Mommy Bear returns to find her three
baby bears by the fire where the snow bears had been. The cubs are
delighted to reveal that they were just pretending, ending with all
four bears enjoying the close feelings that come from their shared
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"Snow Bears" is a story of warm, loving
interactions. The mother is willing to play and pretend, while the
cubs have complete trust in their mother. Children will identify
with the cubs' role-playing and will enjoy that this mother pretends
to believe the mistaken identity. Of course they will love the
predictable ending, revealing what the listener knew all along.
An equal contributor to the warm
feelings of this book is the soft, watercolor setting of white snow,
blue sky and golden fire-glow. The bears are painted with sweet,
petlike faces, doing things like human activities, which are
appealing and not at all frightening. They live in a log cabin
complete with a glowing fire. Doesn't this sound like the perfect
place for you and your little cubs to read this story on a snowy
Martin Waddell is the author of many
well-loved children's books, many told from the animal's point of
view (always a winner with young listeners), such as "Can't You
Sleep, Little Bear?," "Farmer Duck" and "Owl Babies."
To check out
this book and others, please visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or
call (217) 732-5732.
[Marlene Perry, youth services,
Public Library District]