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Moon Bear    by Brenda Guiberson & Ed Young order for
Moon Bear
by Brenda Guiberson
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Since young children love animals and bears in particular, this picture book should be a big hit with youngsters four years of age and older. Brenda Guiberson introduces the Himalayan moon bear by posing a number of questions. She asks, 'Who blinks in the sunlight that peeks through the Himalayas? Who scratches the birch tree and licks oozing sap? Who plucks raspberries and plops red scat in the tangle?'

Of course, the answer is the moon bear! Loosely following the seasons, the book's limited text looks at what the moon bear eats and where it goes within its mountain habitat. There's not an abundance of information here, so don't expect your child to know more about this exotic bear than about other members of the bear family. The author does provide two pages of actual photos of moon bears at the end of the volume and suggests where more facts can be found online, which is helpful for those who want to do further research.

Although he has won the Caldecott Medal for his books and illustrations, I was rather disappointed with the collage art Ed Young created for this book. It might appeal to adults but I fear young children will have trouble sometimes identifying with the book's central character.

On some of the large, two page spreads the black bear blended in too well with the dark background Young created. In fact, there were at least three instances where I wasn't even sure what I was looking at. Showing the bear from different angles wasn't perhaps the best approach given the book's intended audience.

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