Little Bear's Friend by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak
Little Bear series, book 3
Finished: Oct. 8, 2009
First Published: 1960
Genre: children's easy reader
Little Bear sat in the top of a high tree.
Reason for Reading: My son read the book aloud to me as his reader.
Summary: Little Bear meets Emily for the first time; she and her parents are camping in the woods for the summer. They become friends, have adventures on their way to owl's house for his party and say goodbye at the end of the summer.
Comments: Fans of the TV show will be interested in seeing how Emily really meets Little Bear for the first time and that indeed she does have parents who are alive and well! This book more than other's in the series follows a more traditional chapter book with a fairly cohesive story rather than four separate short stories. Each is connected to, or continues on from the previous. Minarik was a brilliant story teller and she, as usual, does a wonderful job with the limited vocabulary of this book, part of the original "An I Can Read Book" series. Minarik's stories themselves can stand on their own but I personally think that these have become the classics they are because of the combination of Minarik's writing and Maurice Sendak's illustrations. Lovely, whimsical illustrations showcase perfect examples of Sendak's work that focuses on the regular aspects of life rather than his fantastical works for which he is more well known.
With the entry of Emily into the series, these books become more girl friendly and yet still retain their appropriateness for boys. Children shouldn't miss out on the original books if they've only been exposed to the cartoon show. Written at a Level 1 reading level the book is simple and straight forward to read, making it a pleasure for beginners or struggling readers.