Monday, March 11, 2013
When You Meet a Bear on Broadway, written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Elivia Savadier. Farrar Straus Giroux, Raincoast Books. 2013. $18.99 ages 4 and up
"What is your business on Broadway?" you ask. (You must ask this politely.) "It's my mama. My mama is lost!" He shivers and droops and covers his eyes and cries. "Boohoo!" Softly at first. Then louder. "BOOHOO!" And louder still. "BOOHOO!"
Well, what would you do? You would do exactly what this polite and concerned little girl does...she helps. After she reassures him and the crying subsides, they set off together to search for his mama.
The little girl wants to know about the mama so she asks questions of the bear about her appearance, and her singing, and her hugs. That's the last straw for the bear, he wants his mama's hugs and he wants them now!
They look uptown and downtown, by the river and in the park. When they see a tall tree, the little girl gives the bear a boost and a chance to climb up and up. Perfectly placed near the top of the tree, he sings mama's name again and again. The wind carries his plaintive call to his mama's ears...all the way to Broadway. That is all Mama Bear needs!
A warm reunion , a happy, warm, familiar hug and a gentle goodbye is shared (politely, of course!)
Now, it's time for the little girl to run all the way home and tell her mama all about her adventurous day!
The lovely drawings bring an Upper West Side neighborhood to life with shops and people bustling from place to place, in front of tall apartment buildings. It's easy to see the two main characters...they shine brighter than all those around them.
Be sure to carefully peruse each and every page, including the endpapers and title page. They have their own story to tell. There is gentle humor and fashionable spirit and charm as the little girl proves she is up to the task:
"When you meet a bear on Broadway
and his mama is lost,
just take his hand
and surely you will find her."