Just got done with Family Storytime at Eastern, and it was tribute to Da Bears. Well, not those Bears (since most four-year-olds have little to no concern for ongoings of the NFL), but the more friendly, fuzzy variety who appear in all kinds of fantastic picture books. One such book is Big Bear Hug, written and illustrated by Nicholas Oldland.
There is something about this book that just charms the socks off of me. The story is cute, the illustrations are cuter, and together they make a book that I am itching to read over and over again. Just ask DPL staff — I have foisted it into the hands of at least a half dozen unsuspecting staff members, eagerly watching as they turn the pages. I am on a one-woman mission to spread the love that is Big Bear Hug throughout the Quad Cities and beyond!
The story follows a bear so filled with love that all he wants to do is hug everything he comes into contact with. He hugs animals of all shapes and sizes, (“No animal was too big… Too small… Too smelly… Or too scary to hug”) but his favorite thing to hug is trees. You would probably guess at this point that Big Bear Hug has a bit of an environmental edge to it. You’d be right. The bear sees a man with an axe walking in the forest, and the man stares lovingly for so long at the biggest and oldest tree that the bear thinks he’s found a kindred spirit. Of course the axe-man takes a whack, and the drama unfolds. I’ll let you read it to discover the delightful ending, but suffice it to say it’s happy for almost everyone and thing involved.
The cartoon-like illustrations are filled with little touches that are bound to make you laugh out loud. (Just take a look at the bear giving a peach tree a full-body hug and you’ll see what I mean.) The story is simple enough for young children to enjoy, but deep enough to make older children think. If you’re looking for a story about bears, or forest creatures, or protecting the environment, or if you just want something that will warm your heart and make you chuckle, check out Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland.