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*A Very Curious Bear* by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Paul Howard
Also by Tony Mitton:

Playful Little Penguins
A Very Curious Bear
by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Paul Howard
Grades PreK-2 32 pages Random House April 2009 Hardcover    

From morning ‘til night, a little bear asks questions. Why does the wind rush around in the air? Why does the path make such wriggles and bends? Why do the daisies squeeze up from the grass? A bigger bear is there to answer each question, but in a very original way.

After some pears are packed and a cape has been adjusted, big bear and little bear walk into the woods to meet mouse and rabbit. They follow a path through the forest and walk across rocks in a stream to get to their destination. While big bear unpacks a picnic, little bear studies the flowers, mouse picks the flowers, and rabbit does a handstand in the flowers. After they snack on cheese, carrots and pears, big bear starts to take a nap and little bear, rabbit and mouse play under the tree.

Their picnic is interrupted by rain, but this doesn’t stop little bear from asking questions or distract big bear from answering them. Before the rain, as little bear asks questions about the sun, wind and the stream, big bear’s answers are playful and fun. But as the rain brings thunder and lightning and destruction, big bear’s answers turn into words of comfort. When they see how the storm knocked over a tree they loved, big bear says “Bad things happen that also bring good. Just look, there’s a bridge where the old tree once stood.”

On the way home, little bear no longer holds his toy sword up high in the air as he did in the morning. He seems reluctant to leave his friends and head home for the night, but before they head inside, big bear and little bear admire the bright full moon in the sky. Little bear asks two questions while looking at the moon, and one question while falling asleep in big bear’s arms.

A Very Curious Bear is a book that feels warm and cozy. Everything looks welcoming! The bears are plush and round. The door to their cabin stands open; the pears on the ground look ready to eat. The leaves that blow over little bear’s head move as gently as the grass beneath his feet, and the path through the woods and the stream beside the forest look unspoiled. When it rains, big bear and little bear walk home together wrapped up in a blanket, and when they arrive home, they are greeted by the light of the full moon, the light from their front porch, and an open door.

While children listen to the rhyming text in this story, they will be exposed to some interesting vocabulary words, like dabble, ruffling, gurgle, babble and rumbly. A Very Curious Bear could be used as a bedtime story, or during times when a child is questioning his or her own world.

It’s pretty easy to like a bear who contemplates the growth of flowers with his nose to the ground and faces the day with a red cape tied around his neck! I think this curious bear will be a hit with children everywhere.

Born in North Africa, author Tony Mitton graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as teacher. He enjoys writing poetry, cooking, baking, and being with his family. Author of the picture books Once Upon a Tide, Down By the Cool of the Pool and the “Amazing Machines” series, he lives in England.

Paul Howard studied graphic design. Before working as an illustrator, he worked in a natural history museum. He has illustrated many books and covers, including the picture books The Bravest Ever Bear, A Year in the City (both of which received awards) and Grandma’s Bears. He lives in Belfast.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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