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Review: Bears
Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


Book Review

Bears brings back memories 
of Sendak's 'Wild Things', May 14, 2005

Bears  by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, HarperCollins Children’s Books, $14.95

Reviewed by Donald H. Harrison

The other day my grandson Shor, who turned 4 in April, surprised me during a video cam conversation over the internet.  He recited the Pledge of Allegiance perfectly.  He didn’t even stumble over such big words as “allegiance” or “indivisible.” 

I’m sure my pride radiated from my home in San Diego all the way to my daughter Sandi’s abode in Nashville, Tenn.  And, I couldn’t help but thinking that although there are only 31 words in the “Pledge of Allegiance,” they pack so much significance. 

In the same conversation with Shor, I read him a new book that had only 27 words—Bears by the late Ruth Krauss. What makes her 1948 short rhyming scheme a full-fledged book for 2005 are the illustrations by Maurice Sendak, who brings back the boy whom he made popular in the classic Where the Wild Things Are—little Max in his wolf suit .  Shor recognized the drawing style as I held Bears in front of the camera, even if he was a bit fuzzy on who Sendak is.

I’d want my grandson to know that both the author and the illustrator are talented members of the Jewish community.  In fact, Krauss was a mentor of Sendak’s, choosing him to illustrate A Hole is To Dig; A Very Special House; I’ll be You and You Be Me, and Charlotte and the White Horse.

Can you visualize bears on the stairs or under chairs or washing hairs?  Sendak can. Or how about them giving stares or collecting fares or stopping in squares or as  millionaires?  With Sendak providing us his magic glasses, the bears are easy to envision. Everywheres

My guess is that Bears is headed for the young children’s classics shelf, joining not only Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are, but also Bill Martin Jr.’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Margaret Wise Brown’s Good Night Moon.