July 20, 2015

The Bear at Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:49 am by suebe2

The Bear at Your Sandwich
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Alfred A. Knopf

“By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich.  But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you.”

This is, in short, a story about a bear.  A bear who smelled wonderful, delicious berries.  Who knew that eating these berries would fill his tummy and he’d fall asleep in the bed of the pick up which would then carry him to the city?

In this fun, imaginative story, author/illustrator Julia Sarcone-Roach creates a picture book in which the text and illustrations play off each other perfectly.  As the text describes the bear exploring the new forest in which the truck leaves him, we watch him explore the city.  He discovers great climbing spots (fire escapes and washing lines), itchy trees (telephone poles) and squishy mud (wet concrete).

On the prowl for fabulous smelling things to eat, he discovers a part and in the far corner an open lunch box sitting on a park bench.  In the box is a glorious sandwich which the bear proceeds to eat.

Spoiler alert!   Do not read past this point if you will be mad that I give away the ending.

As he finishes the sandwich he notices that all the dogs in the dog park are watching him.

In the end, we discover that it is one of the dogs telling the story to his owner — the somewhat miffed person who planned to eat the sandwich.

The text in this book is oh so brief and young readers will love the play between what the book says and what the book shows.  These contradictions will lead young readers to wonder did the dog really see a bear eat the sandwich?  Or is the dog the culprit?

Sarcone-Roach’s illustrations give us a bear that is detailed enough to read his expressions but cartoony enough that he isn’t big and scary.  In fact, attentive readers will notice in the artwork that children through out the city notice and point to the bear but no one is running in fright.

This is a great book to share as a jumping off point for discussions about truth and expectations.


April 20, 2015

Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:22 am by suebe2

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.



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