Holmelund Minarik, the author of the Little Bear books, died this past Thursday. She was 91-years-old. The New York Times obituary is linked here:
Of course, as the director of a school library, I appreciate Little Bear. Minarik’s calm and reassuring stories are perfect for students just learning to read. Even after hundreds (thousands?) of books in the I Can Read series have been published, I still put Little Bear in a child’s hands every week.
But my most treasured memories of the Little Bear series are from the years when my son was young. I still remember the story in the first book about Little Bear’s birthday, especially my son’s delight when Mother Bear brings her son a birthday cake. What struck me then – and now – was the happy and playful dialogue between the mother and son.
Of course, our “picture” of Little Bear come from Maurice Sendak’s illustrations which complement Minarik’s gentle text perfectly. When I read about Minarik’s death, I immediately thought of the sweet expressive face of Little Bear and was grateful to both author and illustrator for giving young readers a timeless portrayal of contentment