With rich, vibrant colors and depth of texture, Vlasta van Kampen's illustrations allow these bear tales from around the world to come alive. The stories are adaptations of traditional legends from three diverse cultures, and each presents an insightful lesson.
Bear and Pig Went to Market
This humorous tale from Czechoslovakia features a pig and a bear who are best friends. They decide to sell their delicious cooking at the market. Bear has a stall with scrumptious potatoes while pig has a stall with sweet-smelling buns. Business is slow, but between them pig and bear manage to sell all their wares by unwittingly swapping the same nickel back and forth between them!
Why Bear Stole the Moon
This North American Native legend explains why the moon changes throughout its cycle. Bear likes it dark so that he can hibernate, so he steals the moon from the night sky. The other animals of the forest are not happy, so Coyote, Raccoon and Raven devise a clever plan to release the moon from the sack in which it is hidden. When they succeed and the moon tumbles out, high, high into the sky, it shines brightly. Bear is disappointed. In order to please all the animals from that time on, the moon changes size and shape, some nights big and round, some nights just a sliver, so everyone is happy some of the time.
Two Lazy Bears
From Russia comes this warning against excessive laziness. Ivan and Igor are two lazy bears; they won't tidy up and they won't sweep up. They can't even be bothered to carry home the fish they have caught. In the end, all their laziness turns against them. When both refuse to clean up after dinner, they decide that the first one up the next morning will do the cleaning. Well, these silly bears both pretend to sleep well into the afternoon, waiting for the other to rise. It is only after their friend Goat arrives to tell them they have missed the July picnic that they resolve never to be lazy again and to cooperate to get their work done.
Vlasta van Kampen has illustrated over 30 books, including "My Dad Takes Care of Me" (1987), "Muddle Cuddle" (1997) and "Monkey Tales" (1998). Van Kampen's professional work also includes poster design and illustration, cassette and CD covers, and advertising and promotional work. She lives in Toronto with her husband.
Children who have recently learned to read will enjoy reading these aloud to younger brothers or sisters because the print is large, the illustrations meaningful and often hilarious, and the stories, although gripping, are fairly short. Vlasta van Kampen has illustrated over 30 books, and this one shows why she has been so successful. Although the three stories are about four different bears, each bear comes across as an individual. Other animals, a pig, raven, coyote, deer, and raccoon, who play lesser roles are equally appealing in her portrayal of them. Highly Recommended.