Reviews for Old Bear and His Cub

Booklist Reviews 2010 November #1
*Starred Review* Though they love each other dearly, Old Bear and Little Cub do not always see eye to eye. When a battle of wills ensues over the question of whether Little Cub will eat all his porridge, "Old Bear stared hard at Little Cub. Little Cub ate his porridge. All of it." Similar sequences occur when Old Bear tells his son to tie a scarf around his neck, to be careful atop a craggy rock, and to take a nap. Later, though, when Old Bear catches cold and needs some care, it's Little Cub who gives the orders and his father who caves in repeatedly under that Paddington-esque hard stare. With its simple sentences and repeated phrases, the text is effective from the start, but it takes on a different, more pleasing emotional resonance for children when the bears' roles are reversed and Little Cub takes charge. Significantly larger in format than Dunrea's Gossie and Friends series, the book effectively uses white space around the large-print text and within the beguiling pencil-and-gouache illustrations. The bears and their surroundings are depicted with simplicity, sensitivity, and restraint. A beautifully crafted story for beginning readers, this warm, gently amusing picture book is also perfect for reading aloud to pint-size contrarians. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
What distinguishes this daddy-loves-you book is its degree of acknowledged reciprocity. Old Bear may stare hard at Little Cub until he eats his porridge, but when Old Bear catches a cold, he (grudgingly) gives in to Little Cub's orders. The bedtime-friendly text is felicitously repetitive. Fine-lined portrayals of the bear pair with lots of snow as background set the stage. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #1
What distinguishes this from the general run of daddy-loves-you books is the degree of acknowledged reciprocity. Old Bear may stare hard at Little Cub until he eats his porridge, but when Old Bear betrays signs of a cold, he (grudgingly, eventually) gives in to Little Cub's orders to get into bed and drink some tea. The bedtime-friendly text is felicitously repetitive (''No, I won't,' said Old Bear. 'Yes, you will,' said Little Cub') and calmly centered in plenty of white space. White is everything to the pictures, too, surrounding fine-lined portrayals of the bear pair (one very little, one very big) with lots of snow as background for their loving battle of wills. ROGER SUTTON Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 October #1

"Old Bear loved his Little Cub with all his heart. Little Cub loved Old Bear with all his heart." But each time Old Bear tells Little Cub to do something, his refusal becomes a verbal tug-of-war over who knows best. "Tie your scarf tight around your neck. You might catch cold." "No, I won't." "Yes, you will." "No, I won't!" Little Cub refuses to eat his porridge, be careful at the top of a rock or take a nap. They both fall asleep in a snowy meadow (despite Little Cub's objections), and when Old Bear wakes up, he has a cold. Now Little Cub becomes the admonisher in this lovingly depicted role reversal. The just-right spare text and pencil-and-gouache illustrations are set against spacious white backgrounds that focus readers' attention on subtle expressions (and not-so-subtle ones, such as the amusing glare-off between grizzled, nap-refusing Old Bear and fierce Little Cub) and colorful touches, like Little Cub's red scarf. The adult-child give-and-take in this charming bedtime story will be quite familiar and is bound to bring smiles to both ages. Simplicity at its best. (Picture book. 4-7)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #2

In this gently comic picture book about the push-and-pull between parent (or grandparent) and child, Old Bear and Little Cub don't always see eye to eye, although they love each other. At breakfast, Old Bear directs Little Cub to eat all his porridge ("No, I won't," said Little Cub. "Yes, you will," said Old Bear). One more "No, I won't" earns Little Cub a hard stare, followed by Old Bear's desired result. The exchange repeats itself when Little Cub would rather not wear a scarf outside or be careful on a craggy rock. But the tables are turned when Old Bear starts sneezing, and he receives some TLC from the young bear. Dunrea (the Gossie & Friends books) unfolds his action on an ample white background with dashes of color--a stand of evergreens, a cozy blue blanket--and his rosy-cheeked characters command center stage. Old Bear, an imposing mass of shaggy brown fur, sports a scruffy gray muzzle and eyebrows that suggest years of hard-earned wisdom. Little Cub, small enough to be handily tossed in the air or ride on a shoulder, is the perfect playful contrast. Ages 3-8. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

PreS-Gr 1--Steeped in the battle-of-the-wills story tradition of Barbara M. Joosse's Mama, Do you Love Me? (Chronicle, 1991) and Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny (Harper, 1942), comes this elegant, innovative parent-and-child story. On a winter's day, Little Cub playfully retorts that no, he won't tighten his scarf, or be careful on the cliff, until Old Bear "stares hard," which is enough for him to do all that he is told. Then Old Bear's worrisome cough shifts the narrative pattern and, surprisingly, it is he who won't have tea, or rest once they return home. "Old Bear loved Little Cub with all his heart/Little Cub loved Old Bear with all his heart." The dual voices work to show that the youngster's love is just as deeply expressed as the adult's. The depth of caring resonates in the orderliness and unwavering pattern of the text-on-left and picture-on-right layout. The lightly rendered illustrations are held as if on a cloud, in ample white reminiscent of Bruce Whatley's work, but more serene, heightening the attentiveness of the loving relationship. These unique, folk-art inspired vignettes, with two-dimensional décor made very white with gouache and balanced with earthy tones in watercolor pencil, evoke the freshness and visual perfection of newly fallen snow. Children will chuckle at Old Bear's long white whiskers and wonder at the row of icicles that hang from the snow-frosted A-frame of their hut. A winter story to be savored by all.--Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City

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