Monday, January 30, 2012

Picture Books - For the Love of Bears

Chilly or stormy nights demand a steaming cup of cocoa or tea and a good book to chase away the howling wind. That’s why I’ve put together a picture book post on some of my favorite characters, who happen to all be bears.

There’s something so inviting and soothing about a bear, their cozy fur, big paws, generous girth and the fact that they love naps. What’s not to love about bears! I guess I’m not the only one as the  New York Times just reviewed several books for children this past Sunday and I'm including the article In The Company of Bears by Pamela Paul because these books sound adorable and worth checking out.

One of my favorite bear books of all time is We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. It's a classic tale that never gets old. I love making the sounds with my kids as we read this book aloud. Don't you?

A series favorite of ours began with A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press, 2008) and the latest book out is The Sniffles for BearIf you've never read this series than you're missing out on one of the best friendships to come along since Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series. Mouse and Bear are the perfect companions. Most of the time! These books are clever and funny and touching.

And what about the gorgeous illustrated dancing polar bears in Nancy Tillman'On the Night You Were Born (Feiwel & Friends, 2006) or the black bear in Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You (Feiwel & Friends, 2010) Magical. Whimsical. Heartfelt books. You may have seen some of them this past Christmas during the holiday season as they were featured in Kohl's stores across the nation.

I’ve always been drawn to bears in part because of their massive size and strength. No one messes with a bear and it’s one of the reasons why they make such good characters in picture books. They’re protectors. But sometimes they need protecting in real life and that’s why I was moved to write the picture book A Voice for the Spirit Bears: The Simon Jackson Story, about a boy who has dedicated his life to saving the ghosts of the North. To learn about these rare bears and Simon Jackson, you can visit the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition and lend your voice to the campaign, too.

Photo courtesy of D. Simon Jackson

In closing, do you have any favorite books with bear characters you enjoy reading? Care to share? Or maybe you're writing your own "bear" book. And if you are, I say good for you! I think there's always room for one more. Let me know your favorite bear books, I'm sure there's a few out there that I've missed over the years.

Also if you have the time, check out my reviews at ReaderKidz on books celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here and books celebrating the Chinese New Year here. You might even find a few new ones to enrich your library.