Author: Cordell, Matthew
After the loss of her dog, Charlie, Louise encounters and befriends a bear when she visits a nearby island Charlie loved. It helps her realize that recovering from a loss takes time. And just as she begins to feel better, the bear disappears to hibernate for the winter. But when spring arrives and the bear never reappears, Louise wonders if the bear was ever real.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.00
Points: .5 Quiz: 513776
School Library Journal (+) (01/22/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/01/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2020 Louise and her parents, who live beside a lake, are grieving the loss of their dog, Charlie. Mom and Dad go about their chores inside, but Louise takes their boat to a nearby island, a place Charlie loved. There she senses changes: a flock of butterflies, tame deer, and a very large (and seemingly sad) bear. Bear and girl exchange roars but support each other over the coming weeks as life gradually improves for everyone. When Bear hibernates for the winter, Louise is bereft again, but a new puppy helps to ease the loss. Cordell's heartfelt story includes pen-and-ink illustrations, enlivened with watercolor and gouache. Brown tones predominate in the beginning illustrations (where sadness pervades); brighter hues appear once Louise and the bear (as well as Mom and Dad) begin to heal. Grief can be particularly difficult to address with young children, and Cordell wisely eschews the platitudes often associated with this emotion, choosing instead to demonstrate the healing powers of nature and time. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/22/2021 K-Gr 2—Mourning the death of the family dog, Charlie, Louise rows out to a small island beloved by him. Deer, chipmunks, and butterflies begin to appear and suddenly Louise comes face to face with a bear. Her emotions roil at the sight of the bear and she returns his roar with a scream, "Afraid yet…angry. Angry to be made afraid. Angry about Charlie." But Louise sees her emotions mirrored: "This bear. A familiar feeling. A familiar sadness." Each day Louise returns to the island as she and the bear help each other heal from grief. As the seasons change and winter arrives, Louise must say goodbye to the bear. The short sentences and spare text lend an immediacy to Louise's emotions while the loose, sketchy illustrations style use vignettes, storyboards, and full-page spreads to depict a visually stunning journey. Of particular impact is the wordless spread as Louise bids farewell to the bear before he goes into hibernation. The outdoors and its symbiotic relationship with Louise allows her to express herself, cope, remember, and adapt to the loss of Charlie. New beginnings are reflected in butterflies, smiles, changing seasons; an increasing use of color in the illustrations and a new puppy convey the hope of moving on from grief. VERDICT A poetically beautiful story of grief and healing mirrored in the natural world has a touch of magical realism as a young girl processes her emotions and realizes that endings lead to beginnings.—Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TX - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.