One bear is facing his first winter alone. Just as his parents taught him, he gathers leaves for his cave and fishes for food in the river. Then, across the babbling water, he meets a mate, and they weather the winter together in a big bear hug. When spring arrives, so does a new bear cub, and the proud parents begin to teach him what they have learned.
[A] sweet story of Mama and Papa raising their child together... McEwen has illustrated her idyllic depiction of family life with appealing earth-toned collages. The bears’ natural world includes stylized trees and snowflakes, a "shivery river" filled with "fat silvery fish," and grand birds. At one point, the family perches on a bee tree from which one parent pulls a ribbon of honey. ... Romantic and attractive... —Kirkus Reviews
McEwen’s mostly double-page collage illustrations deftly capture the feel of a dense forest, filled with stylized trees, snowflakes, rocks, and birds. ... An appealing ... portrayal of serene bear life amid the changing of seasons. —School Library Journal
Double-page spreads of textured paper collage in muted, natural tones depict rich forest scenes. A bubbling brook, a blanket of snow, and crunchy fallen leaves all evoke an atmosphere of a woodsy wonderland. Bright pops of color come in the form of beribboned birdsong and flowing honey. The illustrations are the true highlight here. —Booklist