cover image One Magical Morning

One Magical Morning

Claire Freedman, , illus. by Louise Ho. . Good Books, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56148-472-0

A bluish mist still hangs over the forest when Mommy Bear takes her cub for a morning walk. "The bears walked together/ through grass drenched with dew. Little Bear skipped,/ as little bears do." Freedman aptly conveys the cub's sense of wonder, as newcomer Ho portrays the furry fellow bathing in shafts of sunlight that stream through the trees, and heading off to play with all his animal friends (except for Little Rabbit, who's still dozing). The artwork emulates that of Rory Tyger's in Freedman's Good Night, Sleep Tight , also starring a bear cub and caregiver. This charmer of a story eschews a conventional plot in favor of a soft-focus testimony to the pleasures of observing life and feeling at home in one's surroundings. The wide-open spaces of Little Bear's universe beckon him to explore; in one of Ho's most velvety watercolors, the cub sits on his mother's shoulder and gazes off into the mountains, proclaiming, "Up here,... you can see the whole world!" But his environment is also cozy and reassuring, especially since his super-size, honey-colored mother is always close by. Pretty flowers, thick green grass and cute, smiling animals underscore Little Bear's enthusiasm, "It's a beautiful day—and it's just begun!" Ages 2-6. (May)