Bear In Sunshine by Stella Blackstone
Bear In Sunshine
by Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by Debbie Harter
Topics: weather, play, bears
Bear In Sunshine is one in a series of Bear books for very young children by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter. This simple book shows Bear having fun in different kinds of weather--playing in the water as the sun shines, singing and doing a Gene Kelly impersonation in the rain, flying his kite in windy weather, and building snows-bears in the snow. The narrative rhymes (two quatrains followed by an ending couplet make up the entire narrative), and each line has a double-page illustration. The story ends "Whatever the weather, come snow, rain or sun,/Bear always know how to have lots of fun!". The book then has a double-page illustration of the weather associated with the four seasons.
The cheerful, vibrant illustrations are stunning and a combination of "watercolor, pen and ink, and crayon on thick watercolor paper". Harter's playful cartoonish drawings deliver a strong sense of movement and manage to seem simple while providing lots of wonderful details. The bulky bear's fur is lovingly detailed (and his own bear even more so), there's literary and nighttime details on one page including the cow jumping over the moon, a white rabbit/march hare, sheep to be counted in the distance, and the dish and the spoon are there too, copying Bear. The details are then framed with simple curlicue clouds and childlike suns and moons. The double-page format allows Harter to provide a big sense of space for her bulky bear characters and each page includes plenty of animal friends. The illustrations will strongly convey a sense of delight and fun to very young children and there's plenty of humor to keep older children amused.
Other recommended books in the Bear series include Bear At Home--told in rhyming couplets, this book teaches the function of different rooms in Bear's house -- and Bear In a Square, which encourages the reader to find the shapes in the story. I've just discovered there's also Bear On A Bike, about travel, which looks great - stay tuned on this one!
Stella Blackstone has written many wonderful books for young children including the Bear series, the Cleo the Cat series, Island in the Sun and Zoe and her Zebra.
Debbie Harter has illustrated many children's book including the Bear series, Herb the Vegetarian Dragon, and many others. If you love the art here, follow her link to Barefoot Books and you'll also find you can purchase prints, cards, and wrapping paper with Harter's artwork.