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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Hibernating Bear and a Holiday Hare is a collection of stories and pictures for preschool children, written and illustrated by Mary Alice Sutherland. Sutherland includes a number of natural history stories in this collection besides the title piece. She’s also got a story about mice, a porcupine, a lobster, a bearcat, a tiger and a cheetah. Each tale informs the reader about the animal, its habitat and habits, and is accompanied by a painting of the subject animal. Her other stories often include children, ranging in age from infancy to preschool age, with topics ranging from birthday wishes to appreciation of one’s pet dog, to the things one learns and does out on an adventure in the woods or at preschool. Sutherland includes a number of portraits of children as well as landscape paintings featuring floral gardens, street scenes and seasides.
Mary Alice Sutherland’s collection of stories and pictures for preschool children, A Hibernating Bear and a Holiday Hare, contains a wealth of engaging tales about animals that acts quite well as an introduction to natural history for young listeners. While those of her tales that are about children are fun and will be, no doubt, quite relevant for kids and their caregivers, I particularly enjoyed her animal and natural science tales. They do a marvelous job of introducing the natural world to children, and her animal portraits are quite good. The tiger drawing has a distinctly Asian feel to it, and her bear, bearcat and porcupine images are first-rate. This collection educates as it entertains and that’s a very good thing. It should provide hours of reading pleasure and be the springboard for discussions about nature and the environment. And you won’t want to miss out on the spectacular painting of the earth, with continents and wind currents lovingly portrayed. A Hibernating Bear and a Holiday Hare is most highly recommended.