April 20, 2015
Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Eat Like a Bear
by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Henry Holt and Company
I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of both April Pulley Sayre and Steve Jenkins. When I saw both their names on the cover of a book, I snatched it up.
“Can you eat like a bear?”
Immediately, Sayre poses a challenge to her reader. Can you do it? Huh, can you? If you’re reading this at story time, you’ll probably get more than a few answers and a roar or two. But before readers really know if they can eat like a bear, they need to know what that means.
A bear breakfast begins in April when bears emerge from their dens. There’s still snow on the ground but the bear hasn’t eaten for four months. Four months with no food! Still, not much is available and the bear has to make do with a long drink from the stream and some horsetail shoots.
Yes, the bear is eating shoots. I knew that bears are omnivores eating whatever and whenever but I didn’t really understand what that meant for a bear who has emerged when very little has started growing.
Sayre follows the bear through the year commenting as it eats a variety of plants, insects and a bite of game here and there. Honestly, it was surprising that the bear could bulk up on what, to me, looks like a meager diet. But bulk up the bear does although some scientists argue about whether or not it truly hibernates as discussed in Sayre’s author’s note.
As much as my discussion focuses on Sayre’s contributions to the book, don’t discount Jenkins work. His cut and torn paper collage bring the bear and her environment to life. I loved the way the torn edges revealed the fibers of the brown bear paper, yielding a furry look for the beast. For the most part, Jenkins backgrounds are sparse but that helps the reader to focus on the bear and all the information in Sayre’s text.
Share this one with young nature lovers or someone with a favorite teddy bear. Readers young and old are almost certain to learn a little something about that bear out there.