The Bear and the Star
Waking one morning in December to find “a new star,/ barely visible,/ yet larger than any before” and having located a hilltop evergreen “more majestic than any before,” Bear bellows out in all directions. Because “it was time,” his call summons animals and people from everywhere, who amass “candle and copper,/ flower and oil,” and gather around the evergreen in a spirit of peace. Andersen’s artwork, rendered in oil paints on gessoed paper, echoes the story’s feel of broad reverence through sweeping, snowy landscapes and an apt use of perspective. Schaefer’s bucolic narrative never hints at the source of the “time,” the star, or the tree, making this read potentially confusing for more literal-minded holiday readers. Still, it effectively considers the gentle togetherness that winter’s coming ushers in. Ages 4–8. (Sept.