cover image Honey Paw and Lightfoot

Honey Paw and Lightfoot

Chronicle Books, Jonathan London. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0533-9

The author and artist who produced The Eyes of Gray Wolf here poetically and artistically portray a grizzly's birth and coming of age. Borrowing nicknames given to brown bears by native peoples of Eurasia, London's narrative reflects a time-honored awe of the powerful creatures. When Honey Paw meets Old Man of the Mountains, ""It was June, the mating moon of grizzlies,/ and that night, under stars,/ the two great bears/ became a pair."" Soon after they part company, Honey Paw gives birth to Lightfoot, ""a furry ball of hunger"" whose adventures fill the rest of the tale. Bear fur, spring slush, river falls-Van Zyle's painterly illustrations capture these textures in full-bleed spreads somewhat reminiscent of Ted Rand's work. Similarly, the rhythms of London's carefully structured verse create simple yet affecting images of the natural world. An eloquent and informative endnote decries the threat of extinction of Ursus arctos. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)