I’m an only child and I don’t see my cousins much, so it’s not often that I get the chance to leaf through children’s books now that I’ve “grown up.” But am I really too big for such fun, sweet stories like those of Catherine Leblanc? That just wouldn’t be fair. Her series about Little Bear has won the hearts of children around the world. The writer, working with illustrator (and fellow Frenchwoman) Eve Tharlet, has created wonderful books that you’re never too old for.
I read Too Big or Too Small? [most recent English edition: minedition, 2017. ISBN 9789888341429] and Here She Is! [most recent English edition: minedition, 2015. ISBN 9789888240920]. In the first book, Little Bear gets a younger sister named Anna and is jealous of all the attention their parents give the new baby. Mama and Papa Bear are very busy and Little Bear feels completely forgotten. But love conquers all and the young cub realizes he has a lot to teach his sister. After all, he's a grown and responsible bear! Now he’ll help his little sister and protect her from the dangers of the world. As you read, you feel a sense of respect toward Little Bear—he’s learned to value and love his family.
Book cover: minedition.com
The little bear, painted in watercolors, looks so sweet with his fluffy fur, red-and-white striped sailor top and big, trusting eyes. Children, teenagers, and adults alike will admire the beautiful, colorful illustrations.
Catherine Leblanc is a psychologist by training, so she knows how a child feels when they get a younger brother or sister. She helped me understand that it’s not all that easy to be a chIld.
Book cover: minedition.com
Her second book, Too Big Or Too Small?, made me smile. According to his parents, Little Bear is constantly too big or too small for something. He can’t drive yet, because he’s too little to get a driver’s license, but he’s too big to play with a teddy bear. The parents seem to contradict themselves when they’re always telling Little Bear that he’s too big or too little and so he finds a creative way to show his parents that they too can be too big or too little for things. Watching Little Bear proudly prove his point to Mama and Papa Bear is a lot of fun. He’s so small, but so clever! Best of all is when you turn to the last page and see all the bear family happy together—turns out, when it comes to having fun and laughing together, they’re just the right size. As for me, I realized that I’m not too big to read these wonderful teaching stories, which help to solve difficult issues that are important to children and their parents alike.
Darya Ponomaryova, 16
Translated from the Russian by Alisa Cherkasova
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