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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What do you think happened in March 2020 when a hibernating bear family woke up from their long winter’s nap? They must have been surprised to find empty streets, masked people everywhere, and lineups outside grocery stores. Not to mention the empty shelves in the stores. It’s been a difficult time for everyone with this deadly Covid pandemic, but the bear family managed to settle down and take it all in their stride and so can we. It’s the best way to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the end of Covid restrictions for good.
Jay Sutherland and Meg Sutherland’s picture book story, The Quarantine Bears, is a clever way to explain to young readers the importance and concerns surrounding the pandemic and the restrictions imposed to protect us all. The authors take great pride in their rhyming verse story, actually what is described as pandemic pentameter rhyming verse. At times its lyricism reminds the reader of the famous Christmas poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas, especially the opening lines: “After a long and peaceful winter’s nap,/ Spring’s alarm went click clackity clap!”
The use of homophonic words like bored and board adds a little bit of humor to an otherwise difficult situation: “When we find ourselves bored, we can all play board games.” The authors take care to present these difficult and confusing issues in a clever and entertaining way so that youngsters can understand at least some of the things that are happening around them. Beautifully illustrated, this book will appeal to younger readers.