cover image Copy Me, Copycub

Copy Me, Copycub

Richard Edwards. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028570-8

In this reassuring tale from a British team, a mother bear affectionately nicknames her offspring ""Copycub"" because he learns by doing everything she does. ""When his mother splashed through a swamp,/ the cub splashed through a swamp./ When his mother sat down for a scratch, the cub sat down for a scratch."" The artwork, in close synchrony with the straightforward text, offers warmly rendered, simply composed watercolors that depict the bears leading an idyllic existence in the north woods. Then winter comes, and the bears must head to a distant cave to hibernate. A single snowflake quickly builds to a blizzard, and it is too much for Copycub. In a series of panels, the little bear slowly collapses in the snow: ""He couldn't go one step further. All he wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep."" It's a somewhat tense, even shocking moment in the previously gentle, almost lulling story: suddenly, Copycub's ability to mimic his mother becomes a matter of life and death. But Edwards and Winter don't shift gears. Rather, this dramatic turn of events reveals the strength of their understated approach. When the next pages reveal the mother bear nudging her exhausted cub successfully to their cave, the audience's relief will be palpable. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)