Sunday, February 18, 2018
Bear and Wolf, written and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada, 2018. $24.95 ages 5 and up
During the winter, when the two meet, that lake is no longer blue. It is 'a huge, flat circle of white.' You can feel the cold of the lake right through to your bones. Daniel Salmieri has created an atmospheric tale of companionship and admiration between two denizens of the forest.
Their interlude on a snowy winter day begins when both are out walking in the forest. Bear is first to notice another form in the snow. The two walk toward the other, each recognizing a kindred spirit. They decide to travel together. As they go, they note the sights, smells, and sounds of their winter environment.
The language is as quiet and lovely as the winter landscape.
"No, I'm not lost. I'm out for a walk to feel the cold on my face, and to enjoy
the quiet of the woods when it snows. What are you doing?"
"I'm out for a walk to feel the cold under my paws, and to listen to the crunching
of the snow as I walk."
As they walk together in companionable silence and thoughtful conversation, the two thoroughly enjoy the experience. The time comes when both must return to family ... bear to his den and family for a long winter's sleep, and wolf to his pack and the winter hunting that will sustain them.
"I really liked walking with you," said Bear.
"I really liked walking with you, too," said Wolf.
"I hope that we'll meet again."
Using gouache, watercolor, colored pencils, and crushed colored pencil shavings, the artist evokes the winter woods. The atmospheric images are softly textured to provide a sense of wonder and calm, despite that fact that the two animals are often considered fearsome and worthy of worry. Having the text spread across the bottom of each double page spread allows readers to experience the calm of the animals' time together and the wonder in their friendship.