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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Little One, written and illustrated by Jo Weaver. Peachtree, Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2016. $25.95 ages 3 and up

"By her side, half asleep
and blinking in the spring
sunshine, wobbled a tiny
cub. "There's much to
discover in your new
world, Little One." said
Big Bear. She led her cub
to the forest, where new
life was stirring among the
trees. "This is where your
journey begins," she said."

A mother bear starts teaching her bear cub about the world in a journey that lasts a full year, beginning as they emerge from their den in early spring. She is quick to point out that the cub has much to learn. We watch as she gently eases her baby into a world of wondrous and meaningful experiences.

Always patient and ever watchful, she helps Little One learn how to treat forest friends, how to savor the beauty of a summer day, how to fish for food needed to sustain life, and how to swim to ensure safety. Their travels lead them to all parts of their forest environment, and take them from one season to the next - until mama recognizes the signs that tell her cold weather is coming. They must leave the forest and find shelter in the home where Little One was born almost one year ago.

It has been an eventful and growing year - for the teaching and the learning, for the joy found in being together, and for the circle of the seasons. The charcoal artwork is beautiful, placed on large scenic double page spreads and offering a gentle look at a loving pair. I love the way Ms. Weaver uses light and shadow to full effect as the two wander through their natural world. Their last look at that world as they sit atop a hill snuggled so close together is perfect. Then, it's time for a well deserved winter rest.                                                                         

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