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Black Bear: North America's Bear Hardcover – September 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159078023X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590780237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 10.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-Stunning, full-color photos and a lively text make for an intriguing introduction to these fascinating animals. Swinburne traveled to several locales to observe biologists at work, including a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in New Hampshire who has mentored orphaned cubs for 10 years. Another chapter provides historical perspective by relating how human encounters with bears were once the norm at Yellowstone National Park. Using helpful photos, the final chapter illustrates the signs these animals leave behind in the woods. The readable text offers observations about bear behavior, often addressing common misconceptions. Fact boxes present additional information, such as the controversy about hibernation versus semi-hibernation and a look at tracking individual animals. The combination of full-color photos, some taken of Swinburne's observations, and the historical photographs from National and Yellowstone Park Service archives, expands the reading experience. A range map of North America is also included. Written to enlighten children's knowledge of the black bear's world and that of those who study and help wildlife, this book is well researched and well delivered.
Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-4. Along with relating his own brief encounters with black bears, observing a Pennsylvania biologist giving a bear and her cubs physical examinations in the wild, visiting a New Hampshire man who raises orphaned cubs (for release, not sale), and covering the history of bears and people in Yellowstone, Swinburne delivers a basic picture of the animal's habits, counters some common misconceptions, and explains how to identify bear signs. Illustrated with photos new and old, and closing with links to sources of further information, this will be a valuable addition to most libraries--particularly as the black bear's North American cousins, the grizzly and the polar, have received so much more attention in books for children. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

The Short Version

Steve was born in London, England. He holds a BA degree in Biology and English from Castleton State College in Vermont. He has worked as a ranger in a number of national parks and is the author of over 25 children's books. His extensive travels to faraway lands such as Africa and treks through Yellowstone have all influenced his book projects. Steve's first mid-grade novel, WIFF AND DIRTY GEORGE, will appear Spring 2010. He lives in Vermont with his wife Heather and a cat named Skittles.

The Long Version

My mother, Lily, had me at Marleyborne Hospital in London, England, at 11 o'clock in the morning on November 8, 1952. My father, William Swinburne, worked on trains delivering mail to faraway places all over England. I think that's where I get my love of trains. I was the middle kid--my brother, Peter was a year older, and my sister, Madeline, a year younger. We lived at 7 Wolsey Road in north London, a poor neighborhood of attached brick houses, narrow streets and endless chimneys poking the sky. During World War 2, a bomb from a German plane made a direct hit on the only pub on our street. One person was killed and the pub was rebuilt into a new pub called The Lady Mildmay.

My best friend on 7 Wolsey Road was a kid named George. Mom considered him scruffy and nasty. She called him Dirty George. I was dubbed Wiff. It seems neither of us cared much for soap and water. When we weren't mucking about the streets, we fought other neighborhood kids. Sometimes we'd chuck stones at each other. Once, a well-thrown stone split open my upper lip.

When I was almost 8, we moved from England to America. Mom, Peter, Madeline and I boarded the Queen Elizabeth in Southampton in southern England on April 20, 1960. We landed in New York City five days later. Southampton was the same port the Titanic departed from on April 10, 1912. They hoped to arrive in New York City on April 15, but the ship struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912 and sank almost 3 hours later.

I remember two things about our passage on the Queen Elizabeth: sitting in the swanky dining room being served by waiters in their crisp white uniforms. I looked down at the table setting and saw a 100 knives, forks and spoons. Which ones did I use first? The other memory that stands out was when we were docking in New York City. My mother held my sister in her arms and stood at the rail, leaning over, searching for my father along the wharf. When the ship's horn blasted behind us, my mother jumped nearly spilling my sister into New York harbor far below. What a welcome that would have been!

Age 8 to 17 was a blur of moving houses (my dad liked to switch houses every 2 years), new schools, new friends and fights with my brother and sister culminating in my parents divorce in 1970. All those years I took refuge in listening to The Beatles and writing in journals. I remember yanking the bed sheets over my head, flipping on a tiny flashlight and scratching words into 5-cent journal. I've kept journals and dairies all my life and think it's a great place to fall in love with words.

Growing up, I wanted to be an adventurer, a naturalist or marine biologist. Ever since I can remember, I've put words on paper and I feel so fortunate to make a living writing, exploring new places, learning about the amazing creatures we share this planet with.

I still would like to be an adventurer or marine biologist. One day. And I think a rock star would be kind of cool, too.

Steve holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology and English from Castleton State College, Vt. He has worked as ranger in a number of national parks.

He loves to travel and observe nature and wildlife. A safari in Africa, hiking in Scotland, monitoring sea turtles on a Georgia island, a winter trek through Yellowstone and watching shorebirds in New York have all led to book projects.

He lives in South Londonderry, Vermont, with his wife Heather and daughters Hayley and Devon.

When Steve is not writing and photographing children's books, he loves to sing and play Beatle songs on his Gibson guitar, garden, read, travel with his family and take pictures.

Steve's photography has appeared in magazines such as COUNTRY JOURNAL, VERMONT LIFE, GARDEN DESIGN, FAMILY FUN and HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Awsome photos. Very informative text. I learned a whole bunch about these bears I didn't know before. Kids researching black bears could not find a better book to begin with.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Three species of black bear inhabit North America, but the American black bear is the only one found in only in North America. Author Stephen R. Swinburne journeys with wildlife biologists to study the black bear, visiting those who work with them and discussing their history and habitats. Color photos and an engaging text make Swinburne's Black Bear a true winner for any school or community library Wildlife collection for your readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on July 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Put very simply - bears are cool. Bears in a zoo, however, are very boring. I've never seen a bear in captivity do anything but roll up and sleep, so we're basically left staring at a big ball of fur. Steven Swinburne takes a much more interesting approach, venturing out to locate active bears to photograph and study. We'll have to content with living vicariously through his travels because I like to keep a safe distance between myself and animals this large and toothy.

I like that the four chapters in the book all offer different types of information on black bears. Contrary to other non-fiction animal books, this one includes some first hand accounts of the author's adventures, instead of just giving us the straight facts to memorize. Of course, all the chapters include some terrific bear photographs. Combine those with Stephen's interesting stories and you have a terrific book about bears.

The first chapter is a personal recounting of the his first chance to cuddle with some live bear cubs. Chapter two gives us a bit of a history lesson on how bears graduated from wild animals to tourist attraction in Yellowstone National Park. In the third chapter, the author visits Ben Kilham, a man who has been helping to raise abandoned bear cubs since 1993. The final chapter finishes up the book with some great tips on the signs to look for to know if bears have been around.

If you have an interest in these fascinating animals, definitely give this one a shot. This book pulls double duty by being informative and interesting. You learn the bare facts and get some great personal stories from the author - the best of both worlds.
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By julie parker on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Great book, with good accurate information and very wonderful pictures. I am a black bear lover and follower of the bears in Minnesota. Thank you for a really good book.
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By brownnie on October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love the book and the clear simple way the information is presented. Perfect for my fourth grade classroom and readers.
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