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Monday, January 07, 2008

Bear Wants More

[this post written for Saffron Tree]

Bear Wants More
written by Karma Wilson,
illustrated by Jane Chapman
suggested age: 3-6 years

I was looking for Bear Snores On a few months back and came upon Bear Wants More and instantly liked it.

Bear Wants More is a charming book about a bear who is coming out of hibernation in spring, and how his woodland friends help sate his enormous hunger.
When springtime comes,
in his warm winter den
a bear wakes up
very hungry and thin.

First, Bear munches on the grass outside his cave but he is still hungry. And just then A mouse scampers by with his acorn pail and says follow me along to the strawberry vale.
So up Mouse hops
onto Bear's big back.
They tromp through the woods
for a fresh fruit snack.

Bear eats and he eats, but he still wants more. And so, each of his friends try to lead him to various food sources - the clover patch, stream to catch fish - and Bear heartily partakes, but he still wants more.

The catchy refrain "Bear Wants More" is repeated often and was a delight to shout out together with Ana.

Unbeknownst to him, his other friends (Gopher, Mole, Raven, and Wren), sensing his ravenous appetite when he comes out of hibernation, arrange for a surprise party at Bear's cave replete with honey cakes while he is being led to various food sources by Mouse, Hare and Badger first.

The aroma of freshly baked honey cakes draws Bear to his cave where, to his dismay, he finds he has already gotten too big to fit in his front door! This was Ana's favorite part for some reason - to discover that Bear was too big to fit in his own cave that he walked out of not too long ago. How much could he have eaten in such a short time?!
His friends yell "SURPRISE!"
when he gets to his den.
But Bear is SO big...

...that he can't fit in!

So what do they do? The resourceful friends move the party outside and the bear eats his fill and is finally full, full full, but.. his friends want more!

The full page artwork by Jane Chapman in vibrant greens indicating the crisp and refreshing beauty of spring, with eye-catching detail and endearing woodland animals, was a visual treat in itself. And combined with the bouncy rhymes and gentle story about friendship, hibernation and various food sources, made this a quick favorite with us.

Bear Wants More is a charming read-aloud book with simple and catchy rhymes packed with descriptive words and adorable characters. The gorgeous illustrations complement the text beautifully while unfolding the lives of the woodland creatures in an imaginative and uncomplicated way.

Interestingly enough, since The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle has been an all-time favorite, Ana ended up drawing parallels on her own: little caterpillar was very hungry and he ate a lot of food, and he wasn't a little caterpillar anymore, he became a big, fat caterpillar. Somehow, this information was picked up and identified in Bear Wants More where Bear is very hungry and eats a lot of food and gets SO big that he cannot fit in his cave! It was rewarding and gratifying to note the connection she made.

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