“In our house we don't usually go for picture books on the subject of love. Too much sweetness before bedtime rots the teeth, after all. But I took a chance on Maudie and Bear, written by Jan Ormerod and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. Five short, simple, realistic episodes depict the relationship between a little girl and a very paternal bear, who is unfailingly patient and tender with his fickle sidekick. As the jacket flap says, 'Bear's world revolves around Maudie. Maudie's world also revolves around Maudie.' When she suggests a bike ride, Bear winds up carrying her in the basket. When the two are supposed to team up to make a snack, Bear does all the cooking while Maudie picks dandelions. When she throws a tantrum, Bear is the first one ready to reconcile. And so on.
Kids will enjoy the elegant images and the way Maudie tends to get what she wants (mine sure did), while uncynical adults are meant to appreciate the underlying message about the depthless, unconditional nature of parental love. Despite my sturdy emotional shell, I was moved when the two inseparable characters 'tangoed and foxtrotted until the stars came out.' When I heard my nearly three-year-old daughter “read” this one to herself in a toddler's version of the deep voice I'd earlier affected for the bear's dialogue, well, I felt exactly what this book intended me to feel, and I sat down to read it with her again.”
—James Crossley, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA
If you're very good and promise to brush your teeth, you may pick up your own copy of Maudie and Bear from Island Books in time to read two chapters before bedtime.