Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Biggest Bear - Lyn Ward

Caldecott Medal 1953
Houghton Mifflin, 1952/1980
paper $6.95
84 pages
Rating: 3.5

The illustrations in this 1953 Caldecott Award winner are brown and white and lovely. The story is definitely 50 years old.

Johnny Orchard goes out to hunt a bear as is the custom in the area, apparently. However, he befriends a baby bear, takes him home, and makes a pet of him. The bear eats and grows, eats and grows, until he becomes somewhat of a menace looking for food. The father tells the boy that the bear must go back to live in the woods.

Of course he's too late. No matter where or how far he takes the now-grown bear, he always finds his way back. So only one thing can be done. The boy takes his rifle and heads out into the woods. But, instead of shooting him, they are captured in a huge trap. The zoo is looking for animals, and the zoo is where this huge bear will now live out the rest of his life.


The pictures are very cool.

The it still believable for some parts of the rural U. S? Because I don't think it was written as a tongue-in-cheek story. Did it match the times? Or is it just my-own-personal-anti-gun thing? Needless to say, many aspects of the story didn't do much for me. I've got to read more of these older award-winners...will this run true with others?

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