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Love Songs of the Little Bear Hardcover – April 30, 2001
From Publishers Weekly
This fitful collection of four previously unprinted poems by the author of Goodnight Moon proves that posthumous publication is risky business. The art, dynamically presented, has the tenderness of Jeffers's work in the McDuff series as well as the illustrator's well-developed sensitivity to nature. As Jeffers envisions the verses, a bear family explores four seasons of a world filled with fields of white daisies, streams with puddle ducks, flower-bedecked cottages and an especially picturesque snowfall. But even the beauty and sweetness of Jeffers's images, the warmth of the bear family and the varied perspectives Jeffers employs do not add enough luster to bolster the unpolished text. Little Bear's first "song," for example, includes these lines: "A little bear was singing/ In words that seemed to say/ It's a long time that/ I'll love you/ Never, never go away/ It's a long time that I'll love you/ And if I seem to stray/ It's only that I'm watching/ The flowers bloom in May." The language, unfortunately, lacks the rhythm, simplicity and long-lasting literary merit on which Brown's reputation is based. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-Filled with warmth and wonder, these four previously unpublished poems take a bear cub through the seasons. In the first, the youngster is swept away by the splendors of spring. As he walks with his mother through blossom-filled meadows, he reassures her: "It's a long time that I'll love you/And if I seem to stray/It's only that I'm watching/The flowers bloom in May." In "Green Song," he takes a pail and shovel to explore a field of wildflowers where "-little things creep/In their green grass forests deep/Deep in their long-stemmed world." On a wet autumn day, the little bear ventures out with a bright yellow umbrella and listens to the rhythmic songs of the wind and the rain. The final selection, "Snow Song," has a calming, quiet pace that is well suited to the subject and makes a fitting end piece ("Snow snow/Slow slow/In the soft fall of the snow/The little boats go"). The poems use simple language, gentle repetition, familiar images, and appealing rhythms that will capture the attention and imaginations of young listeners. Varying from smaller vignettes to full- and double-page spreads, the gouache paintings tie the poems together nicely by creating a strong visual story line. The outdoor scenes are lush and inviting, and show each of the seasons at its best. Jeffers does a wonderful job of expressing the little bear's relationship with his mother and the excitement that he feels with each new experience. A delightful choice for group sharing or enjoying one-on-one.
Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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If I understand the notes at the end of the book, the illustrator recently created pictures to accompany poetry written by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon), so this is actually a new book. There are four poems, one per season.
My son enjoys the pictures - there's one that depicts a bear looking at a bunch of bugs that he likes a lot, and another 4 panel illustration that shows the little bear and his mother playing hide-and-seek around a large tree that he also likes. I enjoy the poetry: for some reason, I find the words profoundly moving.
Anyway, this is one of the few books we both like, and we read it at least once a day (and both still like)!