Sunday, January 29, 2017

Love Story: The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting and Jan Brett

It was October 14, and the bear's den was snug and secure for winter.

Mrs. Bear set her alarm for February 14.

Why would a bear want to wake up before spring comes?

The things we do for love!

The Bears had never celebrated Valentine's Day because they have always been deep in hibernation, with weeks to go before awaking.

But this year is going to be different.

Mrs. Bear had things to do.

Back at the end of summer Mrs. Bear decided to make this year different. Now, still yawning, she makes two big red Valentines for Mr. Bear. She ventures out into the snowy scene and digs up a preserved pot of honey.

It was fruity and rich and smelled of summer--just the way Mr. Bear liked it.

She puts the open honey pot on their little tree-stump table, along with a bowl of crispy dried bugs, Mr. Bear's favorite crunchy treat. Mrs. Bear makes a sign for the wall with a big red heart at the top.


Now fully awake, Mrs. Bear writes poems for the back of Mr. Bear's Valentines.

Red Berries are red,
Blue Berries are blue.
Termites are sweet,
And you are, too.

Mrs. Bear zooms back out and, breaking the ice on the pond, splashes cold water on her face and smooths out her fur. Now the scene is set for her surprise.

Knowing that Mr. Bear has great hibernation concentration, she starts the task of waking him up. He grunts and moans and rolls over, mumbling about needing another five weeks of sleep. Mrs. Bear knew this was not going to easy. It's time for Plan B. So with a sigh she heads back outside with an empty berry can and fills it with freezing water to shock him awake.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bear." she said. "But you can't just keep on sleeping. This is a very special day. One... two..."


Mr. Bear shouted and sat straight up. "Happy Valentine's Day!"

It turns out that Mr. Bear has his own plan, and with a smile he pulls out a box of chocolate-covered ants he has kept ready under his pillow, and the two share a very special day in Eve Bunting's The Valentine Bears (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). The award-winning Eve Bunting's story is as sweet as summer honey and chocolates, and best-selling artist Jan Brett's bears are both bear-y loving in this brand-new edition of a charming holiday classic.

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