78 Northern Woodlands / Autumn 2015
advised, “to make them strong,” but his courage
begins to falter as Mama doesn’t return.
When the sounds of voices come into the forest, the fawn nestles into the tall grass, remembering his mother’s warning to “lie still, oooh so
very still.” A well-camouflaged tree frog congratulates the fawn for hiding so well and eventually a
saw-whet owl warns of someone approaching.
The fawn is relieved to discover that it is his
mother who has returned; as she licks him in
greeting she explains her absence was because
he is “a newborn, born without a scent...I have to
leave so trouble’s nose cannot find you.” As the
fawn spends his days getting stronger, he meets
a chickadee getting ready to fledge and a young
raccoon who is practicing tree climbing. Finally,
readers see the fawn bound across the meadow
when Mother Doe decides he is ready to accompany her into the forest.
Although all the animal photographs are incredible, the photos of the fawn are especially heart
warming. Children as young as three years old will
enjoy this adventure as it gives them a peek into
the lives of forest animals.
By Rebekah Raye
Tilbury House, Thomaston, Maine, 2009
Bear-ly There is a Moonbeam Award-winning
book by Maine children’s author and illustrator
Rebekah Raye. In this book, Raye deftly blends
rich, informative text on black bears with vibrant,
Bear-ly There begins in the spring as the sun is
“melting patches of crusty snow on the hillside,”
and a bear is coming out of hibernation. The full-page illustration accompanying this first page
shows the friendly face of a huge black bear. The
bear pulls himself out of his den and promptly
treats himself to an obviously satisfying back
scratch that “also left his scent to tell other bears
he was there.” He continues on in search of food,
at which point readers are treated to a picture of
a very happy bear lapping army cutworms off a
dead log. Unfortunately, with his excellent sense
of smell, the bear is drawn out of the woods by
the aroma of grain and bird seed stored in a
Young Charlie is awakened that night by the
sounds of the bear breaking into his family’s grain
shed. Movement in the house frightens the bear
back into the woods and Charlie finds out the next
day that it has been visiting the neighborhood bird
feeders and compost piles. Neighbors don’t know
what to do and some talk of shooting the bear.
Charlie does research to learn how to keep the
bear away from people and in the woods – from
safely storing grain, birdseed, and garbage, to
cleaning barbecue grills after use.
Charlie’s family moves the grain into the cellar
and makes a plan in the event the bear comes
back. The bear does return to the storage shed,
but is successfully frightened away by the clanging
of Charlie’s cymbals, the banging of mom’s pots,
and the blare of dad’s air horn. Later that summer
while the family is blueberry picking, they catch
one last glimpse of the bear as he is enjoying
some blueberries. The scent of the humans quickly
drives the bear back into the forest.
Raye’s illustrations always portray the bear as
a huge but friendly looking creature. This book
would be suitable as a read-aloud for children
ages four and older.