A Bear’s Year

By Kathy Duval

Illustrated by Gerry Turley 

Pages: 40 | ISBN: 978-0-385-37013-4
Published by : Schwartz & Wade

From the New York Times:

Each time of year has its pleasures in this simple, inviting ramble through the seasons with two brand-new bear cubs and their mother. There’s a long, cozy snooze in winter, fishing and tree-climbing in spring. The parent, we’re reminded, is at work all along: Her cubs “must learn / what Mama knows / while flowers bloom / and grass still grows.” Duval’s concise rhyming nuggets leave space for Turley’s lovely art to conjure a vast yet homey Northern wilderness in soft greens and golden browns.


From School Library Journal:

…Duval’s gentle, spare rhyme, paired with Turley’s full-bleed, thick-lined nature sketches, tells the story of “a cozy dreamer/in her lair/[who] cuddles newborn/baby bears.” She then spends a year teaching them to forage for food and find shelter, “For they must learn/what Mama knows/while flowers bloom/and grass still grows.” The rhythm of the story perfectly matches the slow plod of a bear in the snow, and the language lends itself to sharing both with a group of young cubs or with a solitary special one, snuggled on a lap. VERDICT A sweet and satisfying look at the natural world.–Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH


From Publisher’s Weekly:

A “cozy dreamer” of a mother bear cuddles with her newborn cubs while hibernating, then emerges with them in the spring. Throughout the seasons, the cubs play, explore, and forage for grubs, berries, roots, and fish: “For they must learn/ what Mama knows/ while flowers bloom/ and grass still grows.” Before long, the weather changes, and it’s time to build a new den: “Days are short./ Nights are long./ North winds sing/ winter’s song.” Turley gives the bear family broad bodies, long snouts, and scribbly fur, while using modest textures and clean, open strokes of flat colors for their forest home. Duval’s verse has the steady, calming rhythm of a nursery rhyme, making this fine reading for those about to embark on some overnight hibernation of their own. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)


From Kirkus:

In short rhyming text, a mother bear and her cubs experience a year of changing seasons until it’s time to hibernate.

In winter, a mother bear and her two cubs cuddle, tucked in broad snow under the northern lights. In spring, the cubs grow among flowers and climb tall trees. Summer is speckled with bees and bright red berries as the cubs catch fish and dig roots in preparation for the fall, and finally the cubs, now almost grown, settle down for winter in “Earth’s safe arms”…

A slow, soft read-aloud, good for bedtime… (Picture book. 3-6)