By Benjamin Chaud
Inside Jacket: Papa Bear likes to sleep. Little Bear likes adventure. That’s why Little Bear has followed the bee! Now, Papa Bear must find his bee-seeking Little Bear and bring him home so that hibernation can begin. Follow Papa Bear into the bustling big city and sprawling opera house where taking center stage and unveiling a hidden talent may be just what it takes to discover, not only Little Bear, but a very sweet surprise indeed.
Opening: Deep in his den, Papa Bear starts to snore. Winter whistles through the forest. Hibernation has begun. Little Bear, caught up in thoughts of honey, fails to hear winter’s whisper. A busy sort of bustling beckons him instead.
About the Story: Winter is arriving and bears are hibernating. Papa Bear is snoring in his cave, alone. He awakes with a start, realizes Little Bear is not near him, and runs out the cave to find his baby boy. Little Bear is more interested in honey than a winter’s nap and chases a bee, because where bees live honey waits for the inquisitive bear. While Little Bear chases a bee, Papa Bear chases Little Bear. Soon both are chasing into the big city and into an opera house where Papa Bear finds his voice. Can you find both bears as they chase their way through the pages?
What I Thought: I like The Bear’s Song. It is a combination of an adventure and Where’s Waldo¸ taking the reader from the forest—and all the creatures that live and play there—to the big city—and the creatures living and playing there. Papa Bear is anywhere from a spread to just one page behind Little Bear. The distance makes less a problem than the crowded streets of the city and the sights bears have never seen.
Papa Bear, being of larger girth, is easier to keep track of from page to page. Little Bear, faster and smaller, chasing an incredibly small bee, takes much patience to find on most pages. I found it a bit difficult to find Little Bear on a few of the city pages. Okay, I cannot find Little Bear on any of the street pages—yet. The streets are so busy with people and cars, apartments and stores, who could find the little thing?
I really love the opera house scenes when Papa Bear runs, runs, and runs . . . out of floor, landing in mid-air into a chandelier he grabs. If you look closely, you will find the reason the audience does not escape from the opera house when Papa Bear enters stage, uh, top? When Papa Bear’s weight pulls the chandelier out of the ceiling, plopping him onto center stage, the actors do not flinch, all for the same reason. A mad dash does eventually ensue, leaving all but one theatre seat empty.
I think young kids will love the story of Papa Bear chasing his son. Trying to find both bears on each spread will have parent and child looking at the illustrations closely, as neither bear is always easy to find. The illustrations have a delicious amount of detail, leaving Little Bear with many places to run out of sight. Illustrations fill the entire page, save for an inch at the bottom for the text. This gives a delightful amount of art for the eye to peruse.
The Bear’s Song is a great chase, a wonderful adventure, and a non-top ten song all rolled up into one over-sized picture book befitting a bear.
Released October 1, 2013
Age 3 to 5
© 2013 b Chronicle Books, used with permission
Text & Illustrations © 2013 by Benjamin Chaud
*Prior to post time, I found EVERY Little Bears and Papa Bears!!