Breaking News: Bear Alert

Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki was a nominee for the 16-17 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Breaking News: Bear Alert brings to mind the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

While two bears are having a good time in the city (and the media and townspeople are freaking out), burglars are at large in the background. Little do they know that bears and burglars are about to collide while the world watches!

The most entertaining aspect of this book is picking out the many bear-related (and often hilarious) details in the illustrations. Readers who enjoy word (and picture) play will definitely enjoy this book. They’ll delight in picking out all of the “beary” fun on each page, including a sometimes difficult-to-find bear print.

Older readers may like this charming book more that little ones. There’s just so much to see, and so much that may go over the heads of the youngest readers. Some examples include: on-camera interviews with G. Adams, Teddy Bahr, Chris Robbin, Mrs. Locks, and Stan and Jan B.; locations like Baloo Balloons, Smokey’s BBQ, Pooh Street, and Teddy’s Diner; food and costumes that bring to mind favored childhood stories; and so much more!

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Ol’ Mama Squirrel

Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein was a nominee for the 15-16 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Ol’ Mama Squirrel is a charming book about the protective nature of a mother. Ol’ Mama Squirrel is an expert at scolding, and she gives a firm “Chook chook chook!” to anyone or anything that comes near her babies and their home. She shames cats, owls, dogs, kites, airplanes, and even people, but she may have met her match when a grizzly bear enters the picture.

Ol’ Mama Squirrel tries and tries to get that grizzly bear to leave her babies alone, but he seems determined to make her whole family his next meal. So what’s a mom to do? Well, this particular squirrel does the only thing she can…she calls for reinforcements.

Ol’ Mama Squirrel is sure to be a hit as a read-aloud, especially if it’s used in a setting with parents and children. Many readers, young and old, will see characteristics of their own mothers in that of Ol’ Mama Squirrel. (I know I did.) This would also be an excellent gift for moms from their little ones.

Polar Opposites

Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks, a nominee for the 2012-13 South Carolina Picture Book Award, is about a polar bear and a penguin and how they are opposites in every way. One lives in the Arctic; the other lives in the Antarctic. One is neat; one is messy. The list goes on and on, and there are even some “opposites” that are not outright mentioned. I especially enjoyed learning that one is a Republican while the other is a Democrat (glimpsed in campaign posters on their walls). Both are baseball fans, but one pulls for the Red Sox while the other roots for the (hated) Yankees.

This book teaches lessons on opposites as it lets readers know that it’s okay to be different; we can always meet in the middle. (In this case, the Galapagos Islands!)

The text in this book is very easy to read, and the illustrations are absolutely charming and have tons of little details that older readers will appreciate. A definite winner!