Review: Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
Baby Bear Sees Blue
By Ashley Wolff
Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster)
The goal of a concept book is clear – teach colors or numbers or shapes or any other basic concept that kids need to know about. It’s rare when this sort of book can move past simply introducing skills toward original and engaging storytelling. That should be the goal, but it’s harder than it looks. With Baby Bear Sees Blue, Ashley Wolff (Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten) manages this feat. It’s a book where concept and story are perfectly aligned.
Upon waking up next to his mother in their den, Baby Bear sees the morning sunlight slowly build to a radiant yellow. After leaving the den, the leaves of an oak tree bring green. During the course of the day each new activity, hunting, eating, avoiding a thunderstorm – brings new colors to experience, culminating in every color at once – a rainbow. But sleep beckons, and Baby Bear and his mother end their day of color perfectly – with the soft black of a deep sleep.
The illustrations are a bold combination of linoleum block printing and watercolor. They’re masterfully executed. The palette is vibrant, putting all the colors of the outdoors on display. Each turn of the page reveals another gorgeously rendered two-page spread.
Perfect for teaching colors or for a quietly successful storytime for the preschool set, this is no ordinary concept book.
Review copy from the library.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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