cover image We Are Bears

We Are Bears

Molly Grooms, Author, Lucia Guamotta, Illustrator Northword Press $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55971-747-2

Following the same format as their previous collaboration (We Are Wolves, which Groom wrote under the pen name Melinda Julietta), author and artist here chronicle a day in the life of a mother bear and her two cubs. ""This new world looks so BIG!"" says a cub, as he and his brother emerge from their den for the very first time. The mother teaches them how to search for food, escape a hive of bees, etc., recapping the lessons with simplistic summaries (""We are climbers""; ""we are searchers""; ""we are swimmers"" and so on). Back in the den for dinner and sleep, Mother Bear concludes with ""We are bears."" Groom genially presents succinct chunks of information, but the juxtaposition of factual information with the bears' purported ""dialogue"" may be off-putting to some readers. The strongest passages report the bears' natural behavior. Guarnotta's meticulous artwork lifts the book away from the anthropomorphism of the text into realism. One stunning painting of a cub hiding in a pond among some water lilies looks like a photograph. Whether depicting the flora and fauna of the forest or the bears themselves, her portraits are both charming and accurate. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)