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A Most Bearable Book!

In 1995, author Libby Gleeson had a dream about a bear that escaped from cruel villagers by climbing a flagpole. She shared her dream with her illustrator friend, Armin Greder. In 1999, The Great Bear ($16.99, Candlewick Press, ages 5 and up) was published in Australia, and in 2011 was published in the U.S.  It is a most unusual book in a most wonderful way. The story of a caged, dancing circus bear is brilliantly told with very few words set alongside dramatic illustrations. Artists Armin Greder uses compressed charcoal and pastels, resulting in somewhat smokey, wispy pictures that really set the tone of this story.

Anyone who has ever felt closed in – whether physically or psychologically – could really relate to this bear. It takes a bit of thought to figure out the ending. (Hint: There is a reference to a famous constellation). I found myself reading it and studying the pictures three times to soak it all in. This is a book both parents and kids alike will appreciate.

Debbie Glade reviewed today’s book.

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Breakfast & Books

Journeys to outer space, talking animals, enchanted castles – the world of reading has no limits. Books can offer a child imaginary and thought-provoking experiences unlike any other.


Collect all five titles.

This fall, Cheerios is inviting families to start the day with a nutritious breakfast and a new book. As part of its ongoing commitment to help families connect by fostering a shared love of reading, Cheerios is providing more than six million children’s books, free inside Cheerios boxes, through its Spoonfuls of Stories® program. This year’s in-pack offerings are appropriate for children ages three to eight and written in both English and Spanish.


Recently, Cheerios fielded a survey to examine the role reading plays in family life. Some key findings include:

· Although two-thirds (67%) of moms said they read to their children at least once a day and eight in ten moms (81%) started reading to their child before their first birthday, a quarter (26%) said they only read together a few times a week.

· Nearly two-thirds (61%) of moms said “busy schedules” prevent them from spending more time reading with their kids. Cheerios hopes that the simple act of putting books in boxes encourages families to read more – even if it means squeezing in a story at the breakfast table.

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Listen to What Lindy Says

Meet guest reviewer, Lindy Michaels, whose passion is to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Barnes and Noble in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. where we first met. I think she might even be more gaga over kids’ books than me, if that’s possible!

Head over to BOOKSTAR, 12136 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604, (818) 505-9528, and remember to mark your calendars for Sept. 4th. Ted Jacobs has set children’s poetry to Celtic music, has two CDs out and he and his group will be doing a concert at BookStar on Sept. 4, during Lindy’s regular Sat. 10:30 am storytelling. “It’s going to be fabulous!!”

In today’s post she’s chosen to share some of her particular personal favorites:

Mo Willems

Leo jkt FINAL 1/5Unfortunately, try as he might and much to his chagrin, Leonardo can’t seem to scare anyone. What’s a monster to do? Determined and after much research, he finally finds the perfect victim that he is sure he can “scare the tuna salad” out of. Sam!

In this utterly delightful Mo Willems’ picture book, Leonardo learns there just might be something more important than to follow what he believed to be his mission in life, which is not to be a terrible monster, after all, but to be a wonderful friend. A humorous and wonderful message for children ages three to six.

Frank Tashlin

9781590173442_jpg_180x450_q85One lovely, early spring morning, the bear emerges from his cave after his winter’s hibernation. Imagine his surprise to find his forest gone and in it’s place, a huge factory. Even more of a surprise is when he’s told to “get to work!” by the factory’s Foreman, General Manager, numerous Vice Presidents and finally the factory President.

“But I’m a bear,” he tells them over and over again.
“No, you’re a silly man who wears a fur coat and needs a shave!” they tell him back.

Even the bears in the zoo and circus agree, otherwise, wouldn’t the bear be in a cage or riding a tricycle like them? And so, the bear, not completely convinced, does go to work in the factory… that is, until winter returns and he must question exactly who he is.

Originally published in 1946 and with the original, charming illustrations, this wonderful story still holds up, helping to teach young children to live the truth of who they really are.

David Shannon

0439490251_xlgAlice is a fairy, albeit, a temporary fairy, because, let’s be honest, her magical fairy skills are, well, lacking. “You have to pass a lot of tests to be a permanent fairy!” so complains Alice.

Oh, for sure, when she spills fruit juice on her white dress, she does turn it red (magic!) and when she gets on her daddy’s back, she does turn him into a horse! Hey, not too bad for a mere temporary fairy.

Just like Alice, young children can make their own fairy magic and like Alice, get a lot of giggles doing it.

This lesser known picture book by David Shannon, of NO, DAVID fame, is a total delight children will want to hear over and over again and parents will delight in reading it to them, over and over again.

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