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Old Mother Bear Hardcover – March 1, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–4—From the wide-open spaces of southern British Columbia comes this fictionalized tale of a mother grizzly bear and her cubs. In a documentary style, the story follows Mother Bear from the winter she birthed her last three cubs until her 27th and last hibernation. Using matter-of-fact language, the author treats her subjects with genuine respect and obvious admiration. She writes of topics like nursing, scent trails, and aging in the same casual tone as hibernation and eating. A beautiful example comes after she crawls into her last den: "…a crying storm descended upon the slope. But the grizzly knew nothing of it. She was already gone, past drowse and beyond winter. Her memory she left with every cub she had ever reared; her body she released to the mountain." The authentic portrayal of the animals makes the pastel illustrations an apt fit for the book's style. Bang portrays the cubs as small bears, not teddy bears. The focus of the art stays on the activities in the text with a few generous glimpses of the scenic views. When appropriate, the illustrator shows honest expressions on the face of mother bear. The length of the story and the slightly sophisticated vocabulary mark this as a read-together book. The informative nature of this honest tale will make it as educational for readers as it is enjoyable.—June Wolfe, Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

At the advanced age of 27, a grizzly bear in British Columbia's Khutzeymateen wildlife sanctuary gives birth to three cubs. The detailed zoology facts are the gripping story in this realistic picture book, which is based on true events and illustrated in beautifully textured, close-up, oil-and-chalk artwork by Caldecott Honor Book artist Bang.Words and illustrations show the bear cubs close up, nursing in the den, crawling, growing stronger, and wrestling with each other. Then, in spring, the mother leads them above ground, where they find food, including squirrels and berries, as they explore further. In an exciting confrontation, she rears up to defend her cubs against a huge male intruder. Always there is the sense of her as an aging mother, tired but wonderfully experienced. After three years, the cubs leave her, and an exquisite final portrait shows the mother upright, still and quiet, before she dies. Without anthropomorphism, the one animal's viewpoint is the drama. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811850331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811850339
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,735,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By N. S. VINE VOICE on April 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The old she bear had been there for three days already, called by the cold to ready her den for winter. Hauling out great mounds of earth and rock, she dug a tunnel down into the half-frozen mountainside.

"The grizzly dug until the sky could no longer see the tiny tuck of her tail. Then she began to widen the base of the tunnel. The den was snug, with just enough room to twist and roll, the roof held fast by a tangle of tree roots. The old she tore up great mouthfuls of bear grass and heather and lay it as a thick blanket barrier against the ice-cold den floor."

Back in the days when I'd M.C. a couple of daily preschool circle times, we'd often "do" a few repetitions of Sleeping Bears. You "do" Sleeping Bears by getting the kids to all lean over, eyes closed, pretending to be asleep, and then singing them a little three-chord verse:

Sleeping bears, oh sleeping bears, oh sleeping in their caves.

Sleeping bears, oh sleeping bears, oh sleeping in their caves.

Please be very quiet, oh so very quiet,

If you shake them, if you wake them, they get very mad.

At this point, the kids all spring up, bare their claws and teeth, and give the loudest roar they possibly can. (This is the sort of activity that helps provide necessary balance to fine-motor-based fingerplays and the sitting still, listening attentively circle activities.)

"She was born in a den like this one, twenty-four summers before. Since the grizzly was three years old, she had made her own dens, always in the high ground, usually on the dark side of a mountain. Sometimes she tunneled into a steep forested hillside, in other years she squeezed into a cave.

"After nine days the grizzly's den was complete.
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