Bear goes sugaring

Maxwell Eaton

Book - 2019

"Learn how to make syrup the old fashioned way with the help of a friendly bear and her amusingly unhelpful accomplices Dog and Squirrel in this informative comics-style picture book."--

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Location Call Number   Status
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Picture books
New York : Holiday House [2019]
First edition
Item Description
"Neal Porter Books."
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Ages 4-8.
K to grade 3.
Main Author
Maxwell Eaton (author)
Review by Booklist Review

With winter ending, Bear demonstrates the entire sugaring process, from identifying the right maple tree and tapping it to collecting sap, boiling away the water, and producing syrup. The demonstration spares no detail, covering drill-bit measurements, types of spouts, the safest buckets, and even how to build an evaporator. It's a truly practical book, with a narrator describing Bear's step-by-step method. Additional commentary comes through speech bubbles from Bear's wisecracking sidekicks, a corgi and a squirrel who wait impatiently for pancakes. They, along with Eaton's (The Truth about Your Favorite Animals series) friendly watercolor illustrations, make this somewhat accessible to the intended picture-book audience, although for them it can only be informational. A reader could very conceivably take this book into winter and come out on the other side with a gallon of this gift from the trees, but an initial warning reminds youngsters that guidance is needed from a responsible (human) adult. A wonderfully specific book that will delight the right readers, especially in maple syrup territory of the Northeast and Midwest.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Getting real maple syrup from tree to table is no day in the park, but Bear is up for the job. She marked the sugar maples during the fall so she can distinguish them from species that have less sugary sap; she even knows how to build a backyard evaporator. Most importantly (and the biggest takeaway for readers): Bear is a careful planner and diligent worker who also has vast reserves of patience--even though it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, and especially when her pancakes-obsessed friends, a gopher, a squirrel, and a dog, keep mentioning their affinity for the food ("How are those pancakes coming?" asks the dog as Bear taps her first maple). Watercolor and pencil illustrations by Eaton (the Truth About series) illustrations have a cheery, get-'er-done orderliness, efficiently conveying a wealth of information with comics-style panels, cinematic framing, text callouts, and just the right number of comic asides from Bear's peanut gallery. The afterword takes a broader view, noting that sugaring helps preserve stands of sugar maples, and that the result isn't "manufactured in a distant facility with chemical processes. No corporations. Just backyards, buckets, campfires, and friends." (And pancakes?) Ages 4--8. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4--Eaton's latest picture book discusses how Bear makes her own maple syrup. The author previously wrote "The Truth About Your Favorite Animals" series and lives in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, which served as inspiration for Bear's story. The text describes the process of sugaring from beginning to end: when to tap maple trees, the tools needed for gathering sap, and the steps it takes to turn sap into delicious syrup. Answers and alternatives to "What if…" questions are included, like "What if the bucket I used to gather sap last year has a hole in the bottom this year?" (Bear suggests using an empty milk jug with a hole cut near the top.) The illustrations show even more details, such as what an evaporator looks like, and the tools historically used in the sugaring process. The drawings act as a visual aid, especially if sugaring is new to readers. Humorous commentary from Bear's friends Squirrel and Dog may reflect what readers are thinking throughout the story. At the end of the book, Eaton offers suggestions for further reading. Because there are not many recent informational books about sugaring, this is a good, kid-friendly selection. VERDICT This title could serve as a great teaching resource for science curricula about trees and seasons and act as a wonderful mentor text for informational writing. A strong purchase for elementary school and public library collections.--Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elementary School, Warren, MI

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

This busy, boisterous, and information-packed picture book explains the multi-step maple-syrup-making processfrom tree to table. Bear, anthropomorphized and wearing cold-weather garb, begins her project when the temperature is below freezing at night but above freezing during the day: sugaring time! The third-person main text narrates Bears undertaking as she locates a tree, drills into it, collects sap, and more. Tools are labeled throughout (brace, spiles, evaporator), and occasional sidebars include additional facts. The illustrations, too, help scaffold readers understanding; one picture demonstrates how it takes forty gallons of sap to create one gallon of maple syrup. Bears pancake-loving companions, Squirrel and Dog, follow her process impatiently, inserting questions, affirmations, and comic relief. (When Bear cuts a hole in a milk jug, Dog breaks the fourth wall and declares, I lost scissors privileges long ago.) Sound effects and speech-bubble dialogue emphasize these humorous moments, while the watercolor and graphite illustrations, rendered in light hues, emit a cool winter vibe. This dynamic title succeeds in showcasing the complexity, can-do spirit, and fun behind maple syrup splendor. Back matter includes an authors note and suggestions for further reading. Elisa Gall March/April 2020 p.100(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Follow along as Bear collects sap to make maple syrup.Even as Eaton folds in lots of information, diagrams, and solid vocabulary ("spiles," "brace," "sugarbush"), the antics of Bear's two sidekicksSquirrel and Dogwill keep readers in stitches and turning pages and learning a lot about the process of maple sugaring. Eaton uses text boxes, vignettes, speech bubbles, and comics-style panels to keep readers' interest and break up the information. A spread about maples shows four types and their different leaves. The red maple is labeled "Distinct teeth on leaves" while the dog in its branches is labeled "Distinct teeth in mouth." Bear patiently goes through the entire process, from marking the trees and drilling the holes to collecting the sap, building an evaporator and stacking firewood, filtering the syrup and finishing it on the kitchen stove, and finally ladling it into jars. But it's not until the final pages that her two friends, who are almost at their wits' end by this point with how long it's taking to make one breakfast of pancakes, finally get their much-desired treat. The gentle cartoon illustrations perfectly match the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text. Bear wears clothing; Dog and Squirrel do not. The backmatter includes a map, illustrations of evaporator and spile types and a traditional sugarhouse, an author's note, and some resources. Readers are sure to request both rereads and pancakesand maybe a few spiles and buckets of their own. (Informational picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.