Monday, April 7, 2008

Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle illustrated by Matt Phelan

Here's a delightful book about a bear and all the things he does throughout his year in the woods. He's quite active; fishing for silver salmon in the spring, licking honey out of a bee tree during summer, eating the squirrels' hidden acorns in the fall, and crawling deep into his cave when winter comes. He's "shaggy, raggy" and "boulder-big" but when it comes to his "no-hair nose" and ice cold air, he'g got to find a way to keep it warm. The beautiful pastel and pencil illustrations by Matt Phelan, colors fitting the particular season, bring alive Alice Schertle's fun, prosey, child-like text. Schertle manages to teach us something about a bear's life, like what he eats and how he hunts. We learn about hibernation, even though the word is not used. The text lends itself to some nice narrative and sequencing skills practice: "What did the bear eat in the spring? The summer? Fall? What did he do in the end, when winter came?" A wonderful read-aloud, great for home or the classroom.

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