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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

You're Snug With Me, by Chitra Soundar and Poonam Mistry. Lantana Publishing, Thomas Allen & Son. 2018. $25.99 ages 4 and up

"When the willows turned
crimson, Mama Bear dug
into the snow drifts not
far from the sea.

She made a den just big
enough for her to turn over,
and waited for the falling
snow to seal it shut.

As the cold set in, she
gave birth to two bear cubs."

Once her cubs are born, Mama Bear turns to the task of keeping them snug, answering their questions and assuring them about their future. The cubs are impatient to know what life will be like for them outside after the long, cold winter. She is endlessly patient, and full of wisdom to help them understand the changes they will face when spring arrives with warmth and sunshine. As they wait, she encourages them with her brave and warm responses.

"Don't be afraid," said Mama
Bear. "The Earth dances on her
toes and when she tilts, our
nights will get shorter
and spring will return."

She teaches lessons about living good lives, about their world and the changing of the seasons, and all those things they will need to know if they are going to live independently. She passes her knowledge along, knowing that her cubs will need it when they move out into the world.

"Will you stay with us always?" they asked.

"Only until you're ready to be
on your own," said Mama Bear.

The cubs whimpered.

"Don't be afraid," said
Mama Bear. "I'll teach you
everything I know
before I leave."

For now, they are 'snug' with their mother ... and safe.

In an author's note, Chitra Soundar further describes the polar bear, and reminds her readers that each of us can contribute to the good health of this world we live in by taking only what we need from it. The beautiful and intricate designs are inspired by the Indian heritage of the two collaborators who bring their story to little ones. There is so much rhythm in the lines, swirls, stars, and backgrounds that adorn its double page spreads. Readers will be in awe of the detailed presentation. So. grab a blanket, bring a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle up before bed for a family read. Reassuring and full of wonder, this is a really lovely book.

Be sure to check for its companion - You're Safe With Me (Lantana, 2018).

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