Guide/Reviews Database
McGinty, Alice B.

A Story for Small Bear

(2) PS Illustrated by Richard Jones. A chilly wind blows into the den where Small Bear and Mama live. It's time to hibernate. Small Bear requests stories before slumber, but Mama tells her that there's work to be done--with "no dilly, no dally." Small Bear gathers spruce sprigs for a "soft, warm" sleep spot; takes a bath in the stream; and collects acorns. But, much like human children, and despite an admirable determination, Small Bear cannot resist tantalizing distractions. "The forest was full of food and adventure," and Small Bear is eager to experience it all. McGinty tells the story with a pleasing rhythm and economy: "Sun was setting, wind was biting, winter knocking, and she had to save time for stories." The repetition of particular phrases, including the satisfying "no dilly, no dally" refrain, will hook young listeners. The smudgy, soft-focus illustrations bring to life this forest in autumn, with walnut and copper hues dominating. And Jones depicts an endearing protagonist in curious Small Bear, who leaps through the forest, exploring in wonder. Readers turn the book for one dynamic vertically oriented spread, in which Small Bear climbs a tall tree. "Ahh! She could climb forever." The snug ending, which makes this one a fitting bedtime book, reveals that Small Bear succeeded in leaving time for stories: as Mama and cub cuddle, snow falling, Mama recounts the events of Small Bear's day.


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