Today is the day to share award winning children’s books over at 5 Minutes for Books, and I wanted to share Lulu’s read-aloud for last week. I had never read The Bears on Hemlock Mountain before, but it appears on at least one primary-grades reading list, so I picked it out for her to read. Since it is set in the past, I thought she would like it (given her strong affinity for Little House on the Prairie, etc.). Well, this book is a gem, as its Newbery honor of 1953 designation indicates. The Aladdin paperback we have is marked as a “Ready-for-Chapters” book, and I would say that description is accurate. It is a chapter book, but it has plenty of pictures incorporated throughout the text, so it is a little easier for young readers to navigate. It is a short ten chapters, with the copiously illustrated chapters themselves being ten pages or fewer. Lulu had no problem whatsoever reading it, and it was enjoyable enough that she wanted to read it.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh is the simple story of a boy named Jonathan who is commissioned with the task of going “over the mountain” (which really isn’t a mountain at all, but merely a hill) to fetch an iron pot from his aunt for his mother to cook stew in for his baby cousin’s christening celebration. Jonathan is filled up with the importance of his task and he feels up to the challenge, except there may be bears on Hemlock Mountain. Jonathan, of course, makes it over the mountain, but with a few mishaps and adventures along the way. I won’t reveal the ending of the story (and whether or not Jonathan does indeed meet a bear), but I will say that a big iron stew pot makes a mighty fine hiding place! 😉
This little story has it all–fun illustrations and a compelling and suspenseful story. I give this one a Highly Recommended!