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Bear's First Christmas Hardcover – October 2, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Kinerk is the author of Clorinda, illustrated by Steven Kellogg, which was an IRA Children's Book Award Notable Book, and about which Booklist said in a starred review, "Much applause for Clorinda."
Mr. Kinerk grew up in Alaska and has worked as a journalist and playwright. He now lives with his wife, Anne, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jim LaMarche is one of the most talented artists working in children’s books today. His many successful books include Rainbabies by Laura Kraus Melmed and Albert by Donna Jo Napoli, which was selected as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; and Up and Raft, which he also wrote. Most recently he illustrated The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel. Jim lives in Santa Cruz, California.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; Repackage ed. edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068986972X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689869723
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JJ on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the gorgeous cover art, but the story is just as precious. I actually bought it for my nephew, who will celebrate his first Christmas this year. This story is meant for 4-8 year olds. Bear begins his winter nap all alone in a cave beside a meager little tree, but is awakened. As the story progresses, Bear meets new friends, and they all end up peering into the window of cozy home, watching a family joyfully celebrate Christmas. The animals don't understand the words of the Christmas carols or the meaning of the lights on the tree, but the Christmas "glow" they've witnessed inspires them to improvise their own version of a Christmas carol as they make their way back to Bear's cave. When they reach the cave, the little tree is covered in snow and bathed in moonlight so that it has the same "glow" that the family's Christmas tree has. You can read the rest......
A truly magical story.
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Format: Hardcover
A young bear is awakened from his first hibernation sleep by...something. Sound? Light? Off he goes off to investigate. This is a wonderful story; of the Christmas spirit, of animals in nature, of helping and sharing, and of course of Christmas. Best of all are the luminescent illustrations by Jim LaMarche, who has illustrated many other wonderful books including A STORY FOR BEAR and THE RAFT. Each page is a delight. This book is intended for ages 4-8, but adults may have a hard time not putting it on their own bookshelf. Delightful!
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Format: Hardcover
This is my new favorite holiday book! The lyrical poetry keeps my son enthralled while gently teaching a lesson of generosity and love - without being preachy. It's truly a delight to read! Bear's good heart helps him find important things in life - a home, friends and the magical glow of Christmas. Beautiful, wispy, snow-filled illustrations; rhythmical words and the sweetest story ever. Everyone who celebrates Christmas should own this book! - even if you don't have any children in the house. It gives you a warm glow just like finding Christmas did for Bear and his friends.
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Format: Hardcover
Christmas is about sharing, and that's the lesson this book is trying to teach. A young bear is woken from his hibernation by the sound of Christmas songs, and on his way to find the source of the music, he runs into animals who are in need of help. As he helps them, both he and they learn the real meaning of Christmas: Sharing and giving selflessly is the source of Christmas happiness.

The art is very nice. When the story describes the bear listening for the music, the artist was able to recreate the scene perfectly. The children in the house singing carols are portrayed in rapturous joy and the tenderness of the bear is lovingly painted.

Despite the author's portrayal of bears as playful, happy, and helpful animals, I think this book is very enjoyable and appropriate for kids 2 and up. I don't think it's a good idea to portray bears like that since they are actually strong, wild animals which should not be approached, but so many other kids books portray them as cuddly, so I can't be too hard on Kinerk here.

What I can be hard on is the choice of font. The skinny, broken, scraggly font is hard to read. It is difficult to read ahead while reading aloud since the font needs deciphering. It took a couple readings before I could effectively read this aloud to my son.

One other problem for some parents is the omission of Christ and/or any other religious significance for the holiday. The Christmas tree is given an unnecessary significance, and the book has a heavy dose of naturalism. This may be a turn off for those parents who wish to teach their kids "the reason for the season".

All in all, the book is entertaining, well drawn, and has enough plot to be read over and over again. Naturally, the book only has a shelf-life of a month or two before the Christmas season is over, but the book's physical binding and size make it a keeper. 4 stars for an excellent book, but a point off for the font.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very sweet book with gorgeous illustrations. Got this for my babys 1st Christmas (his nickname is baby bear) so I thought it would be perfect. Decent sized book, great story, and lots of colorful images and animals to see.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I absolutely feel in love with this book as my almost 3 year old granddaughter and I cuddle up and read it together. She enjoyed listening and looking at the beautiful illustrations and I enjoyed every word of the story. You may not knowtise it if you read it silently, but as you read it outloud you can pick up that you almost 'sing' the story to the tune of "Twas the Night Before Christmas". A little bear finds the 'light' of Christmas and in turn shares it with several wildlife friends; saving them from perishing in the winter snow. They all find a house with a family celebrating the holiday season and wonder what they are celebrating but the 'light' of the season shines through the family and the animals pick up on it and feel that feeling as well. That feeling stays with them all winter as they hibernate then in the Spring they all still remember that specialness and the last page says "And the bear, in new treks, knows the light never ends. It's a knowledge he shares with his wide-roaming friends. For each friend, though he roams from the others apart, Carries with him, inside him, that glow in his heart."
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