By Nicholas Oldland
(Kids Can Press, 2009)
I chuckled several times reading this simple picture book. As a writer, I often think about where other authors get their ideas and I have no trouble imagining that Nicholas Oldland’s creation arose from reflecting on the terms bear hugs and tree hugger.
Yes, why do we talk about bear hugs? I’ve never seen grizzlies embrace on nature shows. And, to my knowledge, bear hugs aren’t common features at petting zoos. Oldland doesn’t question things; he just goes with it, introducing us to the ursine version of Leo Buscaglia.
“Everywhere he wandered, the bear shared his love hug by hug.”
The photoshopped illustrations are priceless, as a bug-eyed rabbit, moose and skunk encounter the loving bear. The story becomes more amusing when Oldland informs us that “what this bear loved to hug most were the trees.” And there you have the merger: quite literally, bear hugs from a tree hugger.
The tale takes another turn when the bear comes across a lumberjack, intent on chopping down the biggest tree in the forest. What will be the bear’s natural reaction?
After reading Big Bear Hug, nature walks will never be the same.