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Cover image for A bear's year
A bear's year

New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, [2015]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text describe a year in the lives of bears as they journey through the seasons and raise their young.
Reading Level:
Ages 3-7.
Added Author:


Call Number
JP Duv

On Order



In this gorgeous celebration about the passing of seasons, readers will follow a mother bear and her cubs through the course of a year. Deep in her den under a snowflake blanket, Mama snuggles her newborn babies. When spring arrives, the bears awaken and emerge from their lair, and as the weather warms to summer, Mama teaches her young ones to fish, gather berries, and dig for roots. Then, in fall, the leaves turn gold, food grows scarce, and the family prepares for hibernation and the coming winter. With spare, accessible text combined with charming illustrations, here's a sweet, gentle introduction to how bears experience the changing seasons, perfect for the youngest readers and listeners.

Author Notes

KATHY DUVAL is the author of Take Me to Your BBQ, illustrated by Adam McCauley, and The Three Bears' Halloween and The Three Bears' Christmas, both illustrated by Paul Meisel. Visit the author at kathyduval.com.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-Joining the avalanche of seasonal bear stories, Duval's gentle, spare rhyme, paired with Turley's full-bleed, thick-lined nature sketches, tells the story of "a cozy dreamer/in her lair/[who] cuddles newborn/baby bears." She then spends a year teaching them to forage for food and find shelter, "For they must learn/what Mama knows/while flowers bloom/and grass still grows." The rhythm of the story perfectly matches the slow plod of a bear in the snow, and the language lends itself to sharing both with a group of young cubs or with a solitary special one, snuggled on a lap. VERDICT A sweet and satisfying look at the natural world.-Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

A "cozy dreamer" of a mother bear cuddles with her newborn cubs while hibernating, then emerges with them in the spring. Throughout the seasons, the cubs play, explore, and forage for grubs, berries, roots, and fish: "For they must learn/ what Mama knows/ while flowers bloom/ and grass still grows." Before long, the weather changes, and it's time to build a new den: "Days are short./ Nights are long./ North winds sing/ winter's song." Turley gives the bear family broad bodies, long snouts, and scribbly fur, while using modest textures and clean, open strokes of flat colors for their forest home. Duval's verse has the steady, calming rhythm of a nursery rhyme, making this fine reading for those about to embark on some overnight hibernation of their own. Ages 3-7. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

It's dark and warm in the den while winter descends outside. Northern lights appear, a wolf cries, and a mama bear and two newborn cubs sleep peacefully. The spare rhyming text and illustrations (a combination of drawing and screen printing) follow the cubs through their first year and beautifully evoke the animals' relationship with the earth and with each other. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In short rhyming text, a mother bear and her cubs experience a year of changing seasons until it's time to hibernate. In winter, a mother bear and her two cubs cuddle, tucked in broad snow under the northern lights. In spring, the cubs grow among flowers and climb tall trees. Summer is speckled with bees and bright red berries as the cubs catch fish and dig roots in preparation for the fall, and finally the cubs, now almost grown, settle down for winter in "Earth's safe arms." While the story explores seasons through the experiences of these three particular bears, some rhymes generalize to fit the rhythm ("Coats grow thick, / bodies strong. / Soon bears will doze / all winter long"), risking readers' detachment from the bears in question. Often singsong, the text invites a slow reading, appropriate for preparation for hibernation. Though Duval's text acts as a lullaby as much as a recitation of ursine activities, Turley's vivid illustrations could tell the story wordlessly. The greenish glow of the northern lights or autumn mountains awash in gold lend atmosphere the text cannot, and the close perspectivefrom the bears' shaggy fur to the white breath of the wolf who "wails / a lullaby"brings the scenes to life. A slow, soft read-aloud, good for bedtime or when Bear Snores On is too rowdy. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.