Sep 23, 2013

A Kiss for Little Bear

by Else Holmelund Minarik

This is one of those picture books I think of as classic. I know my mother used to read Little Bear books to me as a child, and I have a few in the collection for my own kids now, as well. I absolutely love Maurice Sendak's illustrations, I think of them immediately in context with these stories. They have a definite realism with beautiful, meticulously inked detail (the bear's fur, hen's feathers, leaves on the trees, every blade of grass or bit of tree bark delicately rendered) yet at the same time retain a lovely charm and timeless appeal. The brief stories center around a little bear, his mother and father, sometimes his grandparents make an appearance too. His friends are an owl, cat, hen and duck, simply called by their animal names.

In this story, Little Bear has drawn a picture of a monster which "makes me happy" and asks Hen to take it to his grandmother. Grandmother is delighted and asks Hen to take a kiss back to Little Bear in thanks. On the way back, Hen stops to talk to friends and gives the kiss to a Frog to take to Little Bear, who gives it to Cat, who gives it in turn to a Skunk. But the Skunk meets a girl skunk and gives the kiss to her instead, until Hen comes along, finds the skunks still exchanging kisses and sets things straight. It's really cute, especially when the skunks have a little wedding at the end, and Little Bear presents them with another drawing.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 32 pages, 1968


Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Oh, I had this book when I was little! I think of it as a classic too, for sure. Did you also have No Fighting, No Biting? I don't want to say that one's better than the Little Bear books, but it's -- no, yeah, it's better. It is better. It's about two alligator (crocodile?) siblings who keep getting into trouble because they can't stop quarreling with each other.

Jeane said...

No, it sounds familiar (the aspect of siblings biting each other) but I don't think I've ever read that one. It sounds charming though!