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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: bears, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 100
1. Bears IN SPACE!


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2. Mr. Bear is finally finished...

And it's time for Mr. Bear to finally say 'Bear is finished!'

I like these step by step progressions so if you scroll through the arrows on the images you can see how each image changes.

And of course with photoshop there are many, many changes to be accomplished.

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3. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

At the start of World War I, a young lieutenant named Harry Colebourn, who also happened to be a veterinarian, is on his way with his regiment to a military training camp in Quebec, when he sees a baby bear on a station platform.  He discovers that the baby bear is for sale, for only $20.00, and Harry decides he has to have it.

The little cub, whose mother had been inadvertently shot, is named after the regiment's hometown of Winnipeg, but immediately shortened to Winnie.  Winnie quickly becomes Harry's constant companion and his company's mascot.  Walker depicts Harry and Winnie playing their own version of hide and seek, Winnie sleeping directly under Harry's cot, and exchanging big bear hugs.

Even when the war worsens and Harry's regiment is sent overseas, Winnie goes, too.  And proves to be a good sailor all the way across the ocean, while Harry lies in bed seasick.  But when it is time to go to the battle front in France, Harry realizes he can't bring Winnie along, after all, she could get seriously hurt on the battlefield.  So Harry makes a tough decision - to place Winnie in the London Zoo for safekeeping.

Winnie and Harry playing
Winnie proves to be such a gentle bear, that children are allowed to play with her and ride on her back.  The war lasts four years, and at the end of it, Harry has another tough decision to make - to take Winnie home with him or let her stay at the zoo, where she has so many friends.  He decides to let her stay at the zoo.  Winnie has one very frequent visitor named Christopher Robin, loves Winnie so much that he renames his teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, after which his father begins to make up bedtime stories about the adventures of Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh that eventually grow into a book.

The real events surrounding the relationship of Harry and Winnie are remarkable enough, but Sally Walker has told it in language the is simply and straightforward for even the youngest of readers to understand.  Jonathan Voss's soft watercolor and pen and ink illustrations done in a palette of browns and greens reminiscent of nature and the military compliment and provide a visual extension of the story.

Walker includes an Author's Note about Harry and Winnie, as well are sources and websites for further exploration.  Be sure to look at the photo's of the real Harry and Winnie on the endpapers.

This is a story the will delight young readers some of whom are already fans of the Winnie-the-Pooh books and perhaps make a few new ones.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

Today is Nonfiction Monday - be sure to visit this week's roundup

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4. Harts Pass No. 241

Local meetings about a grizzly bear reintroduction, and the wolverines are not afraid -- of the bears!

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5. I know a Bear – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: I Know a Bear Written and illustrated by: Mariana Ruiz Johnson Published by: Schwarz & Wade Books, 2014 (originally published in France as J’ai un Ours by Editions Gallimard Jeunesse, Paris, 2011) Themes/Topics: zoo animals, bears, listening Suitable for ages: 3-7 Opening: I know a bear … Continue reading

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6. Wild About Bears – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Wild About Bears By Jeannie Brett Published by Charlesbridge, March 2014 Ages: 6-9 Themes: Bears Nonfiction Opening Lines: Eight bear species live on earth today: the polar bear, brown bear, North American black bear, spectacled bear, Asiatic black bear, sloth … Continue reading

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7. Wild At Heart

The sentimentalization of bears began with “Teddy’s Bear,” that cute and cuddly version of the powerful predator that was first manufactured following President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt’s refusal to shoot a malnourished and frightened she-bear who had been tied to a tree for him to “hunt” at his leisure. It’s a fascinating story, one that I […]

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8. The two cubs who’ve been hanging out in our backyard a...

The two cubs who’ve been hanging out in our backyard a lot. Their two big hobbies are charging at each other and climbing trees. (Photo by a neighbor.)

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9. #633 – I Love You, Too! By Michael Foreman


I Love You, Too!

By Michael Foreman
Andersen Press U. S. A.            3/01/2014
Age 4 to 8          32 pages

“Little Bear doesn’t want to go to sleep, so he tries everything he can think of to distract his father, and in the end it’s an exhausted dad who falls asleep!”


“Dad finished the bedtime story and gently closed the book.”

The Story

Dad Bear tucks his son into bed, reads him a story, and tells his son he loves him. Little Bear has no intentions of going to sleep and so he starts up a back-and-forth he and his dad have done many times: “I love you, I love you more.” It starts out simply and Dad just wants his son to go to sleep.

“I love you three,” said Little Bear, laughing.

“I love you four. Now go to sleep.” said Dad.

“I love you five,” said little Bear.

“I love you even more than that. Now it’s time to sleep,” said Dad.

No, Dad, it is not quite time for bed. Little Bear continues, bringing in his toys, which he loves his dad more than. Dad replies with a simple I love you more, but it will not suffice his son. The boy loves his father more than leaves and birds, all the snowflakes of winter, flowers of summer, colors of the rainbow, and the stars in the sky. To each of his son’s “I love you more than,” Dad replies, “I love you more,” or some variation of this reply. Finally, Dad says,

“You’re only saying that because you don’t want me to go down stairs.”

“No, Dad. It’s because I love you.”

“I love you, too,” said Dad.

“I love you three . . . “


I Love You, Too is a sweet story between a father and son. Picture books need a few more stories involving Dad, who does not get the representation Mom gets in picture books. Poor Dad is usually off to work and, if he is in the book, it is breakfast time and Dad is leaving for work. “Bye kids,” said Dad.

ama new

Little Bear uses his imagination to tell his dad all the ways in which he loves him more than. When Little Bear tells dad he loves him more than all his toys, which are in a corner overflowing out of a toy box, the toys look dejected. The stuffed tiger looks downcast, the donkey appears to have shed a tear, and the others—cat, elephant, panda bear, and bunny,—all look unhappy. Little Bear takes dad up into a tree, into the snow, (where there is a snowbear), into a field of flowers, into the ocean, and onto a sandy beach (where dad is buried under the sand sans his head). In every adventure, Dad smiles and replies that he loves his son and it is time for sleep. Stubborn, but happy, Little Bear ignores his father’s admonitions.

The illustrations, all beautifully done in rich watercolors, welcome the two bears, alone for Little Bear’s love-you-more-than-these adventures. Little Bear’s imagination has these two anthropomorphic brown bears perfectly outfitted in each place Little Bear takes them. As Little Bear finds new ways to love his father more than, the two transport into Little Bear’s imagination to that place, be it a field of flowers,  a rainy day with puddles to play in, or a starry sky to float through, Dad is as happy as Little Bear, wherever Little Bear’s imagination has taken them. I love how Foreman puts the circle of love in motion once more when Dad said, “I love you, too” and Little Bear takes off with his I love you three, but we never find out what those three things he loves dad more than. Dad has fallen asleep on Little Bear’s bed. Little Bear has gotten his wish. Dad is not going back downstairs.  Little Bear picks up the picture book Dad had read him: I Love You, Too!

I Love You, Too_spr

I Love You, Too makes a wonderful bedtime story, though you may find yourself trapped in the “I love you more” merry-go-round, not this is a bad place to be stuck. The story and the illustrations will evoke laughter, smiles, and many “I love you’s” which one can never hear enough. Children will love this story and will soon be using their own imaginations when deciding how much they love a parent more than. I Love You, Too will send many children off to dream land happy and content. If Da Bear is any indication, parents will quickly dose off to their own happy dreamland, maybe even before the last “I love you more than . . . “is said.

I LOVE YOU, TOO! Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Michael Foreman. Reproduced by permission of the US distributer, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN.  

.               First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Andersen Press, Ltd.


Purchase a copy of I Love You, Too! at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner PublishingAndersen Pressat your favorite bookstore.


Learn more about I Love You, Too! HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Michael Foreman, at his wiki page:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Foreman_%28author_/_illustrator%29

Find more great books at the Lerner Publishing Group website:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

Find even more books at the Andersen Press U. S. A. website:  http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/

 Andersen Press U. S. A. is an imprint of Andersen Press Ltd.


Also by Michael Foreman, released in 2014



Cat & Dog

Cat & Dog

Classic Christmas Tales

Classic Christmas Tales

Oh! If Only...

Oh! If Only…



The Littlest Dinosaur

The Littlest Dinosaur

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Fortunately, Unfortunately

War Game: Village Green to No-Man's-Land (ages 8 to 10)

War Game: Village Green to No-Man’s-Land
(ages 8 to 10)






i love you too



copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Andersen Press Ltd, Andersen Press U. S. A., bears, bedtime story, children's book reviews, fathers and sons, I Love You Too!, Lerner Publishing Group, Michael Foreman, picture books

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10. Harts Pass No. 213

Worlds collide! Ongoing wildfire stories and wolverine research/recovery/protection efforts find common ground in this week's strip. Heartbreaking -- but uplifting in its thus far positive progress -- is the rescue effort involving Cinder, a 35lb female black bear who was badly burned in the Carleton Complex fire. She looks pretty good in the photo below, and clearly shows a little spunk in the strip.

In other news, the Fed has reversed its earlier track and decided that the wolverines and their demonstrable (but supposedly hypothetical) reliance on late season snowpack for denning and rearing of kits do not warrant endangered species protection. I'm with Cinder on this one. Uncertainty my butt!

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11. Three Bears in a Boat – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Three Bears in a Boat Written and illustrated By: David Soman Published By: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014, Fiction Themes/Topics: boating, bears, adventure Suitable for ages: 3-7   Opening: Once there were three bears, Dash, Charlie and Theo, who lived by the … Continue reading

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12. Picture book roundup - Library books

September, National Library Card Sign-Up Month, is almost over, but if you're still looking for a good book to share, here are two new ones:

  • Kohara, Kazuno. 2014. The Midnight Library. New York: Roaring Brook. 
By the time this month is over, I will have visited thirteen kindergarten and four preschool classrooms to promote Library Card Sign-Up Month.

It doesn't matter what other books I have in my bag.  When kids see The Midnight Library, it's the one they want to hear!  Apart from Kazuno Kohara's eye-catching linocut illustrations in three colors, here's why I like it:
  • It features a library that's open all night long.  I wouldn't want to work there, but it makes for a really good story!
  • It highlights the fact that libraries are adaptable.  The squirrel band needs to practice some new songs for an upcoming concert?  No problem!  The library has an activity room they can use.
  • It features one of a librarian's favorite activities - reading stories.  Wolf is crying because her book is sad?  No worries! The librarian reads it with her.  It has a happy ending!
  • It's absolutely perfect for Library Card Sign-Up Month!  Tortoise can't finish that 500-page book before the library closes at sunrise? A library card is what he needs!

See this and more interior artwork at the publisher's website.

  • Becker, Bonny. 2014. A Library Book for Bear. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

I've loved the Bear and Mouse series ever since it came out, and while this one is not my favorite (I still love A Visitor for Bear best!), it's a good addition to your collection of library-themed books.  You really can't go wrong with Bear and Mouse.

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13. Its Fall-time for Oliver.

I've stretched out the summer to the last warm beach day but alas...its Fall. I do actually enjoy the season and had a chance to indulge my love for this time of year in New England a few years ago while illustrating Oliver Finds his Way by Phyllis Root. The board book is still available at your favorite independent bookstore. Visit my site, http://www.christopherdenise.com, for quick links to purchase past titles.

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14. Goldielocks and the Three Bears

In January I had the opportunity to work on a rather unusual project. This new editions of Goldielocks and the Tree Bears, published by Editions Fleurus, has a simple but lovely paper engineering. Each page is made by two rotating disks so the scene inside changes.
I'm very pleased with the print quality and how well the book was put together. One of my favourite projects this year!

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15. Brother Hugo and the Bear: Blending fact, fiction and illuminated manuscripts

I have to admit that there have been one or two occasions in my lifetime when I’ve lost a library book.

I’ve never had a reasonable excuse (the overflowing levels of books in my home may be what has swallowed them up, but I cannot use this an acceptable defence). I’ve certainly never been able to claim that any loss was on account of a wild bear hungry for words.

brotherhugoBut a twelfth century Brother Hugo could and did. Or at least he does in the delightful and engaging Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe, illustrated by S. D. Schindler .

To make good the loss of a missing manuscript, Brother Hugo is ordered by his Abbot to prepare a fresh copy. Having borrowed the neighbouring monastery’s version of the lost text, we follow Hugo as he carefully recreates the book that has disappeared.

All goes well until his journey to return the loaned copy, when he is stalked by a hungry bear…

A historical note at the end of the book quotes from an extant letter written by Peter the Venerable (c. 1092 – 1156, a real-life abbot who published the first Latin edition of the Koran amongst other things):

And send to us, if it pleases you, the great volume of letters by the holy father Augustine, which contains his letters to Saint Jerome, and Saint Jerome’s to him. For it happens that the greater part of our volume was eaten by a bear.

Beebe has used this historical fact to build a captivating and funny story. We learn a lot about how books were at one time made including where parchment comes from and how some inks were made. But this is no dry non-fiction text.

Historical figures and settings come to life in ways which make them real and relevant; “The dog ate my homework” is an excuse I’ve yet to hear in real life – a bit like seeing someone slip on an actual banana skin – but it’s an excuse we are all familiar with, and which resonates clearly with poor Hugo and his encounter with the bear. Beebe’s text is perfectly peppered with slightly archaic language, giving a lovely flavour seasoned just right for using this book with slightly older children.


Schindler’s illustration are a delight, drawing heavily on many styles and motifs used in mediaeval manuscripts. Illuminated letters start each paragraph and the finely executed, detailed ink and water colour illustrations contain much humour. As befits a book about hand-created manuscripts, Schindler’s illustrations are completely executed by hand (you can learn more on Schindler’s blog), without computer manipulation, a relatively rare thing these days in picture books.

Text and illustration are both splendid but what truly completes this book is the inclusion not only of a historical note and glossary but also a commentary from both author and illustrator on the inspiration and process of their work. This adds real depth to an already interesting and beautiful book.

Brother Hugo and the Bear has appeared on several “best of 2014″ book lists in the US, including 2014 American Booksellers Association Best Books for Children Catalog, Kirkus Best of 2014 and School Library Journal Best Books of 2014 and it is certainly worth ordering a copy of this American import (unfortunately you’re unlikely to find this in a UK library). It would make an ideal book to use as the basis of some activities for World Book Day.

Inspired by Brother Hugo we wanted to make our own illuminated manuscripts. Using some colouring-in pages printed from the web as our inspiration we drew outlines for illuminated letters using pencils before going over them with ink.



The inked letters were then filled in with watercolour and a little bit of gold guache before being leather bound.


Completely at their own instigation the girls used a Latin dictionary to find words they liked to write in their manuscripts.


Whilst making our manuscripts we listened to various 12th century music such as this, this and this.

Other activities which would work well alongside reading Brother Hugo and the Bear include:

  • Watching this hilarious video about the changes from scrolls to codices in the history of the book:
  • Making your own ink. There are lots of different recipes from this using egg yolk, lamp black and honey to this one recycling old felt tips which seem to have run out.
  • Browsing online images from illuminated manuscripts. Both the British Library and the National Library of the Netherlands have fabulous, searchable illuminated manuscript databases
  • Watching the super, award winning, family-friendly feature length animation The Secret of Kells, which as you might guess from its title is about creating an illuminated manuscript.
  • This year sees the 10th anniversary of another of my favourite books about books: Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing a few new book-themed book discoveries – but do let me know your favourite picture books which celebrate books and the joy of reading.

    3 Comments on Brother Hugo and the Bear: Blending fact, fiction and illuminated manuscripts, last added: 2/2/2015
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    16. Entering the Dark Forest


      Raasepori-MoonLohja-summer2013 032

     The forest  has played a major role in children's literature from the earliest time.

    The forest was mysterious, a place of unknowns and often darkness and fear.

    From legends to fairy tales, the forest was a place of wonder and often a place of danger...from Winnie the Poo to Little Red Riding Hood

    Eastern Finland-PunkaharjuThe forests are central to the Planet Of The Dogs and Castle In The Mist.

    For readers, the forests, like the books whose stories embrace them, open the doors to the imagination.

    This blog is dedicated to children's literature that opens the doors to the imagination. And to the amazing role of dogs in enhancing our lives. - 


     the NewYorker NewYorkerPageTurner_banner_n (1)


    In this fascinating article that moves through children's literature and cultural myths ranging from Gretel and Red Riding Hood to Katniss Everdeen and Lady Gaga, Maria Tatar explores the evolution of the female archetype today. Here are excerpts.

    "We’ve come a long way from what Simone de Beauvoir once found in Anglo-European entertainments: 'In song and story the young man is seen departing adventurously in search of a woman; he slays the dragons and giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound asleep: she waits.' Have we kissed Sleeping
    Beauty goodbye at last, as feminists advised us to do not so long ago...
    Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” series have given us HungerGamesJenniferLawrencefemale tricksters, women who are quick-witted, fleet-footed, and resolutely brave...  they are not just cleverly resourceful and determined to survive. They’re also committed to social causes and political change...

    The female trickster has a long and distinguished lineage...Many of our female tricksters—often new inflections of the ones we know from legends and fairy tales—have complemented their DoreRedRidingHoodarsenals of verbal weapons with guns and steel.Little Red Riding Hood has been revisited again and again in recent years. The girl in red, often positioned as a seductive innocent who courts the predator as much as she fears him, is no longer a willing victim. When Buffy, from the popular nineties TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween...

    These days, the trickiest of them all may be Lady Gaga... Lady Gaga draws us out of our LadyGagaKidscomfort zones, crosses boundaries, gets snared in her own devices. Shamelessly exploitative and exploratory, she reminds us that every culture requires a space for the disruptive energy of antisocial characters. She may have the creativity of a trickster, but she is also Sleeping Beauty and menacing monster, all rolled into one."

    Maria Tatar chairs the program for folklore and mythology at Harvard University. She is the editor of the excellent Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood.

    The Illustration Of Red Riding Hood in bed with the wolf is by Dore...




    In recent times, many versions of the fairy tales of old have been made for film and TV. Producers of these retold versions of Little Red Riding Hood have been inspired by the early versions of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault with the ominous forest, the dangerous wolf, and the innocent young maiden. These retellings have often been heavily influenced by the quest for commercial success, and the reults have been decidely mixed. Often banal or cliched, they are examples of how commerce as well cultural change affects the retelling of fairy tales.

    Here is a link to the trailer of the  2011 Movie film, Red Riding Hood

    And here is an excerpt and a link to Roger Ebert's laugh out loud review.

    "Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage RedRidingHood2011moviesgirls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape...

    What this inspiration fails to account for is that while a young woman might toy with the notion of a vampire boyfriend, she might not want to mate with a wolf. Although she might think it was, like, cool to live in the woods in Oregon, she might not want to live in the Black Forest hundreds of years ago because, like, can you text from there?

    "Red Riding Hood" has the added inconvenience of being dreadfully serious about a plot so preposterous, it demands to be filmed by Monty Python..."

    Like Mr Ebert, most critics gave the film a negative review. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the audience rating was 39%.


    RedRidingHood1997A sensual intepretation of Little Red Ridin Hood  from 1997 is found in this short film by David Kaplan adopted from Conte De LA Mere Grande...music by Debussy...the wolf moves like a seductive spirit of the forest...soft black and white images and a clever Red Riding Hood... 

    Here is the Link: Red Riding Hood


    Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

    Roald Dahl wrote his own version of Little Red Riding Hood in the form of a RoalDahlhumorous,tongue in cheek poem. This is how it begins...

    "As soon as Wolf began to feel
    That he would like a decent meal,
    He went and knocked on Grandma's door.
    When Grandma opened it, she saw
    The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
    And Wolfie said, "May I come in?"
    Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
    "He's going to eat me up!" she cried.
    And she was absolutely right.
    RedRidinghoodDahlHe ate her up in one big bite.
    But Grandmamma was small and tough,
    And Wolfie wailed, "That's not enough!
    I haven't yet begun to feel
    That I have had a decent meal!"
    He ran around the kitchen yelping,
    "I've got to have a second helping!"...

    The image above is from a fun film made of Dahl's Red Riding Hood poem using stop-motion puppets. The imaginative creators, Hannah Legere and Andrew Wilson, certainly caught the spirit of the Dahl poem. Link here to this delightful film version of Roald Dahl's  poem...

    The dog lover in the photograph is Roald Dahl.


    Artists and Illustrators...

    LittleRedRidingHoodBookCover Wisnewski 14 different artist's versions of Red Riding Hood are posted on the  Art of Children's Books  blog site..here is an excerpt from their introduction...

    "Folk tales and fairy tales are at the top of the list when it comes to vintage children's books. The Brothers Grimm* folk tale, Little Red Riding Hood, has been a beloved and enduring story. Originally titled Little Red Cap, the story has a strong lesson. Since it's publication, Little Red Riding Hood has been illustrated by many artists over the years. Here is just a sampling of the different artistic interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood."

     Book cover by Andrea Wisnewski...*The original version was published by Charles Perault.



    RedRidingHoodForestThe Forest and Imagination...
    The influence of the forest on the imagination will 
    always be with us, especially in legend, folk tales and children's stories.
    Innumerable film and TV versions, including 
    many annimated cartoons, of Little Red Riding Hood will continue to be made. And wonderful writers like Roald Dahl in the past, and Philip Pullman in the present, will continue to find the forests of fairy tales a timeless setting for timeless stories. 

     The illustration is by Arthur Rackham...if you look closely, on the path beneath the huge tree, you will see red Riding Hood and the wolf.


    Reading for Pleasure...opening the imagination, opening the mind...


    Reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom, according to a UK study of the reading behavior of appoximately 6000 young people. Here are excerpts from a report that reaffirms the value early reading and bedtime stories.

    "Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE).

    Jordyn castleThe IOE study, which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time, found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of10 and 16 than those who rarely read...

    ...Children who were read to regularly by their parents at age 5 performed better in all three tests at age 16 than those who were not helped in this way." 

    The research was conducted by Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown; To read the article, visit Pleasure Reading


    The Doors that Rose opens... 

    “I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is SusanPurseTDRose_01a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs.  I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch.  The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate.  The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose.  Lying with a dying patient who will smile, close their eyes and stroke her with a peacefulness that is so precious…I know I could not enter that person’s space without Rose…it really is all about occupying part of someone else’s space for just a short time be it in a school, home or hospital...” 

    A former teacher, Susan Purser, and her Australian Cattle Dog, Rose, have been very active as a therapy dog team for several years in Sarasota, Florida. 


    Paws Giving Independence

     Paws Giving Independence is a recpient of a 2013 Planet Dog Foundation Grant. GIPGivingIndependeceBoyandDogPlanet Dog has this year donated $71,500 in new grants to 16 non-profit dog organizations..."The PDF grants will help fund assistance dog, therapy dog and search and rescue programs across the country and support a wide variety of non-profit programs that are helping children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities; injured service members; natural disaster survivors and many more people in need..."

    "Paws Giving Independence is an all-volunteer organization that saves dogs from area shelters, trains them to be service/companion dogs, and places the dogs, free of charge, with those in need. GIPGivingIndependenceGirlDogKaraLogan Their Saving a Life to Change a Life project identifies suitable dogs in shelters and trains them to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities. They train dogs to open doors, pick up dropped objects, turn lights on and off, and other ways to assist in independence. In addition, they train dogs to alert for epileptic and diabetic seizures, and psychological assistance for military veterans with PTSD. PDF funds support veterinary care, special prosthetics and balance equipment and training."

     Paws Giving Independence was founded in 2008 by 3 Bradley University students who recognized the marvelous healing capabilities of dogs.


    for Dog Lovers and decent people...

    Here's a Goodreads review that strikes home and makes sense for dog lovers and decent people...Passionate dog rescuer, animal rights advocate and author.C.A. Wulff wrote How to Change The World in 30 Seconds...

    "At first i started reading this book as an animal rescuer myself. But as i started to go Arielchange world3edthrough all of the information in the book i realized that this book is a GREAT informative guide for people who have just dipped their toes into the realm of rescue. It is laid out in a way that focuses on an audience that may, or may not have already heard of some of the ideas. This way a novice rescuer can understand it, but the veteran rescuer isnt just wading through either. I saw several options that were detailed out even for someone in rescue many years. So really what im saying is.. it doesnt matter if you are new or old to it, this can give you great ideas, starting points and explanations for why so many rescuers are able to save lives on click at a time."

     Here is a link to the full review by Sylence of How to Change the World in 30 Seconds, in Goodreads... 


     Much has been written of the importance of childhood experiences with books...books that meant a lot to an individual as a child and where the memory of the book remains important in their adult life. Here, thanks to Monica Edinger's Educating Alice blog, are excerpts from a rather fascinating converstion by two of the most prominent, respected, and imaginative writers of children's and YA literature...





    Guest Blog: Gaiman & Pullman Talk Children's Books in Literary Oxford

    BY REBECCA REGO BARRY ON AUGUST 26, 2013 8:40 AM Guest Blog by Catherine Batac Walder 

     "Gaiman talked about reading the Mary Poppins books when he was six or seven and how they helped form whatever worldview he had as a kid. 'The idea that the world is incredibly unlikely and strange secret things are always happening, that adults don't really explain to you, or in fact, that adults may be oblivious to'...

    ''His (Gaiman's) wonder was infectious as he recalled discovering the library when he was very GaimenCoverCoralineyoung and having that incredible feeling of power; discovering the card catalogue in which you could actually look up subjects like witches or robots or ghosts; or you could just take down books and read the interesting ones. Both authors talked about discovering American comic books and marveled at the speed in the stories, the size of them, with Gaiman adding, "Everything was alien, everything was equally as strange and unlikely, so skyscrapers, and pizza and fire hydrants were just as alien to my world as people in capes flying around..."





    Monica Edinger, a fourth grade teacher, and a passionate advocate of the wonders and benefits of children's literature, has a very lively and informative blog:  Educating Alice . Her new book, Africa Is My Home, is receiving excellent reviews.

    Here are excerpts from her blog ;

                                    The Unjournal of Children's Literature 

    EdingerAfricaIsMyHomecoverThe “un” movement is an intriguing one. Until recently I had only heard about it in terms of unconferences, participant-driven events such as this one. But now there is another sort of un-thing, an unjournal. Created by children’s literature graduate students at San Diego State University, the inaugural issue of The Unjournal of Children’s Literature is up and ready for viewing, reading, and responding. Gorgeous to look at, clearly designed in terms of navigation, fascinating in terms of content, this is one elegant web publication.

    And from an article on kids, books and reading: "Reading to me is many things and so I think we teachers need to provide many different experiences with reading and books.  My fourth grade students read all sorts of material on their own, for themselves, for all sorts of reasons..."  



    What do Therapy Dogs Do All Day?

    Here are videos from Peple Animals Love (PAL), based in Washington DC, that document the wonderful work that their volunteers and their dogs perform. Click this link: PAL


    Fairy Tales as the Last Echoes of Pagan Myths...

    Seth Lerner, in writing about the orgins and history of fairy tales and folklore, points out that Wilhelm Grimm, at the time the Grimm brothers books were being published in 1812 and 1815, wrote that fairy tales were the "'last echoes of pagan myths'. He GrimmRackhamHanselGretel(Grimm) went on:"A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children.(Fairy tales) belong to our national poetic heritage..."

    Lerner sees even more significance in Fairy tales. He goes on to point out that "what we find inside these secret forests, caves, and seas is not just a poetic heritage, but a personal one as well. For fairy tales are full of families, full of parents who bequeth a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from childhood to maturity..."

     Seth Lerer is Dean of Arts and Humanities and Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego. The quotes and ideas above are from his informative and insightful book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter


    NYPLlogoNYPL's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, October 12th at 2:00 p.m.

    The ABC of It: Curator Leonard S. Marcus in Conversation
    Join Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature, Interim Director Jenny Brown as she interviews historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus about his current NYPL exhibit and the importance of children’s literature as a whole.
    This event will be held in the South Court Auditorium in the main branch of New York Public Library.
    For any questions or concerns, please contact Betsy Bird at elizabethbird@bookops.org.




    Harry Potter's Textbook...

    "J.K. Rowling will write her first movie script for Warner Bros., writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to
    JKRowlingBookFind Them–a film based on Harry Potter’s textbook from his school for wizards.

    The film is part of a planned series featuring the author of the magical book, Newt Scamander. Rowling published a book by the same name in 2001. She had this comment on her Facebook page:

    "Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world..." Here is the link: JKRowling



    Dogs in the Forest...

    The forest plays a very important role in the Planet Of The Dogs Series. Here is an excerpt from Castle In The Mist...

    CITM-blog size-382KB"The dogs continued to lead the soldiers deeper into the woods.  Soon, it began to snow, slowly at first, and then, the wind increased and the snow was everywhere.  It became very difficult to see very far.  The leader of the soldiers told his men that they were to follow him.  They were returning to the castle. 

    They started walking through the snow when one of the men, who was an experienced forest guide, said to the leader, “With respect sir, but I don’t think we are going in the right direction.” The leader was about to answer him when howling started.  It seemed to come from all directions.  Then the leader spoke, “You will follow me, I am certain that this is the way.”  They continued on through the swirling snow, unable to see, and surrounded by howling dogs..."

    Here is an excert from a review:"Do you think it is possible for dogs to stop war? Author Robert J. McCarty has created a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two different levels…a story about dogs who come from another planet to help people on earth.  But under the surface are the important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and how to overcome evil with good…Castle In The Mist will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. 

    Wayne Walker reviewing Castle in the Mist for Stories for Children Magazine, the Home School Book Review and the Home School Buzz wrote:



    Canadian Service Dog Foundation logoCANADIAN SERVICE DOG FOUNDATION


    The Canadian Service Dog Foundation trains and provides service dogs for a wide variety of human needs and services. They provide a wide range of vital services,,,ten major humanitarian objectives are listed on their website. Here are the first two:

    • "To improve quality of life for Canadians through the use of service dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals. Provide opportunities, resources, and support through the use of trained service dogs for Canadians living with psychiatric disabilities so as to allow for greater functional independence, sufficient to make healthy choices and lead active lifestyles."
    • To support past or present military personnel, emergency service workers, and related professionals dealing with operational stress injuries through the use of specially trained service dogs.
    • Here is a link to learn more about their wide reaching canine services for people: CSDF Services 
    • ............................................

    Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by Pod bookmark back_flat

    clicking here:Books

    Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes  Noble, Amazon, Powell's...

    Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.

    Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at barkingplanet@aol.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the kids read dog books to you?"

    And Now -- for the First Time -- E Books of the Planet Of The Dogs Series are coming on KDP Select...

    Planet Of The Dogs will be available October 1...Castle In The Mist will be available on October 15 and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, on November 15...in time for the Holiday Gift Season... 

    Any one of these books would make for a delightful—and one would assume cherished—gift for any child.  All three would be an amazing reading adventure. Darlene Arden, educator, dog expert, and author of Small Dogs Big Hearts wrote:  


    Finding Fido

    "We are excited to announce that Barking Planet Productions is publishing a new book by C.A.Wulff.

    "Finding Fido" will be available for purchase at amazon.com on September 30. "Finding Fido" is a handbook every pet owner will want to have in their library.

    Between 3 and 4 million pets are put to death in shelters across the U.S. every year. Some of Fidofrontcover72them are owner surrenders, some are impounds, but the vast majority of them are missing or stolen pets.
    C.A. Wulff and A.A.Weddle, the administrators of the service Lost & Found Ohio Pets, have compiled a guide to address this sad reality.  ‘Finding Fido’ offers tips for preventing the loss of a pet; advice for what to do with a stray pet you’ve found; and a step-by-step plan in case the unthinkable happens, and you lose a pet.  
    This is an instructive and important tool every family with a dog or cat should have on hand… just in case.
    100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book benefits The Beagle Freedom Project!"




    A Dog Health Update: here are excerpts from an article on Giardiasis – Parasitic Diarrhea in Dogs, Cats and Humans...The microscopic parasites known as Giardiasis are the most common intestinal parasites to be found in humans, dogs and cats. A protozoan parasite infection, it is the cause of a very serious diarrheal illness in the intestinal areas, known to be highly contagious but not lethal. However,  it is a parasite that can be transferred across species — from person-to-person or animal-to-person... The most popular locations for this parasite are on surfaces or within soil and food.However, drinking water and recreational water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals are the most common methods of transmission. This includes untreated or improperly treated water from lakes, streams, or wells...

    Here's the link to read this comprehensive, informative article: Way Cool Dogs


           New England Conferences-Book Shows in October for           IPNE Small-logo-blue-white       Independent Bookstores and Libraries

     As members of the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE), we will be exhibiting Circling the Waggins and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale at the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA),October 6-8, in Providence, RI and the New England Library Association(NELA), on October 20-27, in Portland, Maine.



    Green Eggs and E-Books? Thank You, Sam-I-Am By Julie Bosman

    Here are excerpts from Julie Bosman's article...

    "Dr. Seuss books, those whimsical, mischievous, irresistibly rhymey stories that have been passed down in print to generations of readers, are finally catching up with digital publishing...

    DrSeussCatInHatThe Dr. Seuss canon will be released in e-book format for the first time, beginning later this month, his publisher said on Wednesday, an announcement that could nudge more parents and educators to download picture books for children...picture books have lagged far behind(adult fiction) . Several publishers said e-books represent only 2 to 5 percent of their total picture book sales, a number that has scarcely moved in the last several years.

    But the release of the Dr. Seuss books, still hugely popular after decades in print, could move that number higher. The e-books will be available on color tablets, including the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook HD. The first titles to be released, on Sept. 24, include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!” and “The Lorax” (featuring an environmentally conscious character who might be happy about the announcement)."




    ''The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea 
    In a beautiful pea-green boat, 
    They took some honey, and plenty of money, 
    Wrapped up in a five-pound note.''
    Click here for information and videos of COROMANDEL , byTrevor Bachman's... Here is an excerpt from their site...A" vibrant musical odyssey for children and adults, Coromandel is a journey through the mind of poet Edward Lear"...playing in New York City in early October..." a fusion of rock, jazz, bluegrass, tango, musical theatre, and classical sounds makes for a diverse, delicious, and sonically satisfying evening. Told with a whimsical simplicity that appeals to children of all ages..."



    "We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace." 

    —Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization" -

    I found this quote on

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    17. Wake up Alleycat!

    Pink on guardThe bears have stopped reproducing for the moment. Alleycat’s instructed them to gather on top of one of the sitting room cabinets, and although he’s confined them more or less, one of them’s unruly and wayward and refuses to do as he’s told. When Pink’s on sentry duty that particular bear creeps up on her blind side and sneaks past her. Quietly does it He’s been seen in the kitchen, staring down at Alleycat (though Alleycat’s too polite to notice him) and once I caught that bear signalling to someone through the kitchen window. We don’t know the details yet but it must mean that the bears have allies somewhere in the Five Streets and they’re secretly communicating through the glass. Nothing bothers Alleycat though. He’s intent on sleeping as much as possible and won’t exert himself or take steps until it’s absolutely necessary.I'm here!

    2 Comments on Wake up Alleycat!, last added: 10/13/2013
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    18. Dream language

    PinkPink’s had a shock.  All the animals have.  It’s all because of the bears, who’ve suddenly appeared and started to spread across the house. But now and then I wonder if there’s something hidden in the dark that the bears are just a symptom of.  Alleycat’s resorted to purely practical, military measures.Class dismissed  He drills the dogs and makes them line up and gives them instructions to watch and guard and report any weirdness; but dogs aren’t the type to take instruction, and Alleycat’s just marking time in my opinion.  But he’s done more too.  He’s been in dark places, under the floor (we’ve heard him down there) and he’s been in the cupboards too, searching for a reason, or a sign.  But oddly enough it’s Pink who’s trying hardest. She might seem a lazy and vain little cat, but she sits by my PC and stares at the keyboard as if she’d love to write me a message, and last night she appeared in a dream and spoke to me urgently, not in a miaow, but in actual human words. Unfortunately when I awoke I couldn’t remember what she said. That’s how it is with dreams. They’re different.In here somewhere

    2 Comments on Dream language, last added: 11/5/2013
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    19. Alleycat’s sage advice

    Pink encircledAlleycat went missing and there was no sign of him for a day and half. He didn’t show up until yesterday morning.  No one knew where he’d gone to and when he came back (he always comes back) he looked fitter and stronger than he’s been for years. Obviously he’d been invisible, and whilst invisible he’d seen the solution to the problem of the bears.  The bears must have sensed that their reign of terror  was coming to a close, because they all came out and encircled Pink and surrounded her in a little bear-army on top of the kitchen table.  Pink telling off the head bearThen Alleycat whispered something in Pink’s ear, and a moment later all the bears were flat on their backs and Pink was in control.  Pink in controlAlleycat let her have all the glory, but I’m sure she wouldn’t have been able to overthrow the bears without his sage advice.Pink and Alleycat

    2 Comments on Alleycat’s sage advice, last added: 11/18/2013
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    20. Bears Galore!

    I've been drawing LOTS of bears lately. Fun to do -- as usual -- and this particular arrangement (for example only) feels a bit like a Richard Scary page... Bride Bear. Groom Bear. Burly Bear. Policeman Bear... :)

    0 Comments on Bears Galore! as of 3/18/2014 5:15:00 PM
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    21. Otter & Bear

    Well I guess I'd be remiss if I didn't post at least two bears for the month of March, as bears are the one animal I've drawn professionally more than any other. I like bears so much that my website is even called BigBearIllustration.com.

    Star gazing in My Favorite Bear, written & illustrated by Andrea Gabriel, Charlesbridge Publishing.

    Front cover for Otter & Bear, still searching for its publishing home...

    0 Comments on Otter & Bear as of 3/27/2014 1:15:00 PM
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    22. Otto & the Grand Prix Bees by Kip Noschese

    Otto is a bear with a unique talent for racing cars. It’s a talent that requires drivers to be fearless. Otto has only one fear. A great fear — BEES! When he crosses paths with some very smart bees that love racing as much as he does, he might need to overcome his fear if he wants to win.

    About the Author
    Kip Noschese is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has designed backgrounds for many award winning animated television shows, including Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats and Family Guy. Otto & the Grand Prix Bees (2013) is his debut children’s book. He currently resides in Henderson, Nevada. kipnoschese.com

    Get this on Amazon Otto & the Grand Prix Bees

    DSCF1624 DSCF1625 DSCF1626 DSCF1627 DSCF1628 DSCF1629 DSCF1630 DSCF1631 DSCF1632 DSCF1633 DSCF1634 DSCF1635 DSCF1636 DSCF1637 DSCF1638 DSCF1639

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    23. Secrets of ‘The Ice Bear’ – an insight from Jackie Morris

    Jackie at a recent book signing.

    Jackie at a recent book signing.

    Last month Jackie Morris‘ haunting book The Ice Bear was released in a new paperback edition. To celebrate this I asked Jackie to share a little of the background to this bewitching story, to share some the book’s secrets.

    If you’ve already got a copy of the book you might want to have it to hand whilst you read what she reveals, so you can go back and look at the images with fresh eyes. And if you haven’t already found a place in your home for this piece of art between two covers, … well perhaps this post ought to come with a warning notice. There’s magic in and on the pages of The Ice Bear. Prepare to be charmed and enchanted.

    The Ice Bear began with an image in my mind’s eye. It was an image of a child, kneeling. Around the child there were bears, so that the child looked like the centre of a daisy and the bears were the petals. My job was to work out how to get the child there, and probably more important, how to get him out again. This is what books are about for me, asking and answering questions, and in the process discovering more questions.


    The Ice Bear began with a friend, pregnant with her first child. Something went wrong. The baby stopped moving, at full term. He died. She had to deliver a stillborn child. A tragedy for her and the child and her husband. The way people reacted to this was a shock to me. Quick, rush over it, brush over it, hide it under business, do anything but face the pain. (Not Sophie and Jon. They couldn’t rush over it, hide it, they had to face it.) I wanted to do a book about a lost child, about loosing a child. This was a thread that wove into the book. Though few would know if I didn’t say and the book is dedicated to Rhoderic, and Sophie and Jon and also to Katie and Thomas who were born by the time the book came out.

    Some of Jackie's first sketches for The Ice Bear

    Some of Jackie’s first sketches for The Ice Bear

    The Ice Bear began with a wish to do a book about polar bears, and to weave into it transformation and a legend, of the trickster and the shaman.

    The Ice Bear began when the flight of a raven began to stitch together ideas with its patterned flight in the Pembrokeshire sky, because all books are like rivers, fed by streams of ideas, coming together.

    The book is part of a series of books I have written about animals, each with a cover that is a portrait of the animal, staring out from the book. The covers are strong, almost iconic, and the books are often given shelf space so that the whole cover is seen, rather than being placed spine out on a shelf. I am told by bookshops who put the in the window that they work like a charm to bring people in to the shop, and one shop in Edinburgh said that people often missed their bus as they crossed the road to get a better look at the Snow Leopard when that was in the window. There’s something about eyes looking straight at you that still holds a primitive magic over the wild parts of the human consciousness. When I paint an animal in this way I am not searching for the humanity in the animal. I am searching for the soul, the spirit of the creature.

    Some of Jackie's covers, including her forthcoming 'Something About a Bear'

    Some of Jackie’s covers, including her forthcoming ‘Something About a Bear’

    Having ‘begun’ with an image the story then builds into a balance of words and images. Picture books are meant to be read aloud. The language needs to taste good in the ear, to look right where it sits on the page. A picture book is like a theatre, each page a stage set for that part of the story and in designing each page I often include parts of the stories that are only in the pictures. Once open I try to keep the words inside the pictures. I want the book to become a world where the pictures and the words tell the story. The composition is thought out right to the corners and often the corners and edges are where the main focus of the story is. (You can see this best in the picture where the child finds his mother bear. The image dominated the page but in the top right hand corner there is the figure of the father, charging in).


    I paint on smooth paper, arches hot pressed, beginning with pale washes and then building and building with layers and then smaller details. The paints that I use are Winsor and Newton Artist Quality watercolours, usually tubes, and I use ceramic palettes. I know these colours quite well now after 25 years of working with them. I know when to run wet into wet and how much water to use. Now I use sable brushes. They carry the paint so well and a brush like a series 7, no. 4 will allow a wide wash but also can pull the finest line when handled right. And in the same way that writing is like finding the answers to a series of questions, so too is painting. I am constantly asking myself questions, about composition and colour and line and finding the answers is what makes the book.


    In The Ice Bear the mother and the father each have a totem animal. The mother’s is the Arctic fox, and often when it seems that the child is alone on the ice you can see the fox is there somewhere, watching. The father’s is the owl, a fierce sky hunter. The boy’s is the bear and always will be. And raven, the trickster, a character who is perhaps a force for good, perhaps bad. He steals the bear child, but takes him to the hunter and his wife who have longed for a child. And when it is time he leads him back across the ice and joins the bear people with the human people forever. So is she good, or bad?

    During the telling of a tale things can change. When I originally wrote The Ice Bear the raven lured the child out over the ice with small shards of sea glass. But I had wanted the book to be set long before glass was invented. The child becomes the first shaman, a bridge between humanity and the bear people. It was a time when there were no borders and people wondered the land without any border controls. There was no concept of ownership of land. The very idea would have seemed ridiculous. And so I looked for something else, something more timeless and lit upon the idea of amber. Amber is natural, not a manufactured thing. And I have a necklace of amber beads that if taken apart by a mischievous raven would look just like the broken amber heart in the snow.

    Jackie's amber necklace

    Jackie’s amber necklace

    The Ice Bear has been published now in many languages, French, Spanish, Catalan, Danish, Swedish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese. This is one of the things I love about working with books. Words found on a hill top in Wales can travel the world. I also love the democracy of books. Paintings in a gallery are expensive and usually bought to be hung in one home. Books can be bought, translated, and borrowed from libraries. They can be shared.”

    My thanks go to Jackie for so generously sharing some of the stories behind The Ice Bear.

    The House of the Golden Dreams (an art gallery featuring Jackie’s work): https://www.facebook.com/TheHouseofGoldenDreams
    Jackie on Twitter: @JackieMorrisArt
    Jackie’s blog: http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/

    3 Comments on Secrets of ‘The Ice Bear’ – an insight from Jackie Morris, last added: 5/5/2014
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    24. Cuddling up to Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson

    nightbearcoverThere are lots of recipes for great picture books but Rebecca Patterson has certainly worked out one of the best set of ingredients. She takes a good dose of humour, a non-patronising, reassuring, sincere child’s-eye view of the world and adds in highly observant illustrations and a sprinkling of drama. She did it with the Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning My Big Shouting Day!, the brilliantly perceptive My Busy Being Bella Day, and has pulled it off once more with her latest book, Nightbear.

    An old bear has arrived at a new home; the book opens with us following him from the factory where he was made, to his first (and unappreciative) home, to a charity shop where he is eventually bought by a young girl out shopping with her mum. The bear is thrilled to have been chosen, but how will he fit in, when he discovers that the girl already has lots of teddy bears with very important roles in her life?

    A heartwarming, delightful story not just about having a great teddy bear to hug, but also about the importance of having someone listen to your stories, and the reassurance that comes from being ‘picked’, about the everyday, real worries a young child can have (from nightmares, to being ill in the night), and most of all about the enormous fun to be had with imaginative play, Nightbear is a perfect picture book.


    Starting with the gorgeous, dark sparkly cover, this book is so much fun to look at as well as to listen to. Patterson draws with a delightful, fluid simplicity; lots of smooth curves abound – as if echoing the cuddliness of the bears, and the warmth of the family. Some of the tiny details in the illustrations are like poems; they ring true in an uncluttered, authentic way that makes you see them anew, for example the way the mother holds the hand of the child when they’re browsing in the charity shop, or the manner in which the father holds the hair of the child whilst she is being sick.

    A book every nursery and infant school should have, a book every charity shop should use to make a brilliant, eye catching window display, a book every family with young children will enjoy, Nightbear is an ideal book to cuddle up with.

    Feeling sad at the thought of all those unloved teddy bears leading lonely lives on charity shop shelves we armed ourselves with 50ps and went off with a mission to each rescue and bring one home.


    This one (above) looked pretty comfy.


    This one looked rather resigned to its fate.


    These two had fallen over and were asleep when we saw them.


    This one was too expensive.

    But eventually we each found a teddy that we loved, came home, and celebrated by dressing them up (as happens in Nightbear). I’m rather jealous of the bustle and headgear newly named ‘Treacle’ got to wear:


    Little ‘Buttercup’ got a pretty nifty hat:


    But ‘Candy’ stole the show with her badges and slides…


    Whilst dressing our teddies we listened to:

  • Stompy the Bear by Caspar Babypants
  • Freddy Bear, The Teddy Bear by Ralph’s World
  • Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear by Elvis Presley

  • Other fun activities to get up to alongside reading Nightbear include:

  • Making a patchwork blanket. Even the youngest kids can have fun making a paper collage out of coloured squares, whilst older kids could paint fabric in blocks of colour (thinned down acrylic paint is great for this if you don’t want to get dedicated fabric paint).
  • Having a Teddy Bears’ Picnic! A blanket, some bears, some biscuits… oh and a good book or two and you’re all set!
  • Ready Baggy Brown by Mick Inkpen for another great view of a teddy bear factory line
  • Enjoying these pictures of really old teddies and wondering what sort of lives they’ve led
  • Have you a favourite teddy bear? Or a teddy bear who is assigned a special job?

    Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

    4 Comments on Cuddling up to Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson, last added: 5/22/2014
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    25. Picture Book Roundup: Historical fiction edition

    Here are two fiction picture books that feature days gone by.  Both books should tickle your fancy and make fun read-alouds for school-aged children, K-2.

    • Kulling, Monica. 2014. The Tweedles Go Electric. Ontario, Canada: Groundwood. Ill. by Marie Lafrance.

    The year is 1903, and the Tweedles are "a bunch of fuddy-duddies," according to their neighbors.  Even when they finally decide to purchase a car, neighbors still tease them,
    "People don't want that.  They want noise.  They want smoke." ... "They want a car to sound and smell like a car." 
    But rather than the latest in gas-powered autos, the Tweedles purchase a smart, green, electric car.

    With a wink and a nod to the future of "green" transportation and women's empowerment, it is the youngest of the Tweedles, Frances, and the "green" car that save the day when an emergency arises.  Marie Lafrance's illustrations accurately evoke the era and are reminiscent of the style of Hergés Tin Tin.

    With an illuminated capital I and leafy, gold flourishes, Brother Hugo and the Bear begins firmly planted in the monastical world of the Middle Ages,
    It befell that on the first day of Lent, Brother Hugo could not return his library book.
    As the reader soon discovers, a bear has eaten the monastery's beautifully illuminated copy of St. Augustine's letters.  It becomes Brother Hugo's job to painstakingly recreate the massive, illustrated tome —a job that "would have been full easy to endure if it had not been for the snuffling."  The source of the snuffling, we soon discover, is the bear, who has not yet had his fill of letters.  Written and illustrated with great reverence for the early art of book-making, Brother Hugo is humorous as well.  Both the monk and the bear are earnest and joyful.

    Based loosely upon a true story, Brother Hugo, in combination with its included Historical Note, Glossary, Author's Note, and Illustrator's Note is illuminating for both children and adults.

      A Discussion Guide for Brother Hugo and the Bear.

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