Item description for The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward...
Overview Johnny goes hunting for a bearskin to hang on his family's barn and returns with a small bundle of trouble
Johnny Orchard brings home a playful bear cub that soon becomes huge and a nuisance to the neighbors.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 1576
Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/1991 page 730
Wilson Children's Catalog 96 - 01/01/1996 page 755
Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2001 page 718
Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 1035
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.52" Width: 7.53" Height: 0.3" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Mar 15, 1973
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Series Sandpiper Book
ISBN 0395150248 ISBN13 9780395150245
Availability 0 units.
More About Lynd Ward
HILDEGARDE H. SWIFT (1890-1977) wrote several books for children. Best known for "The Railroad to Freedom, which was cited for a Newbery Honor, Ms. Swift spent her life recording the lives of heroic Americans. "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge is her most popular picture book. LYND WARD (1905-1985) illustrated more than two hundred books for children and adults throughout his prolific career. Winner of the Caldecott Medal for his watercolors in "The Biggest Bear, Mr. Ward was also famous for his wood engravings, which are featured in museum collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Biggest Bear?
Enjoyable classic Mar 31, 2007
This hardcover book is great. I love the story and the detailed pictuers are amazing. The simplicity of another era comes through, and the friendship with the bear is heartwarming without being cheesy. The bear is so cute! I definitely recommend this book.
SORT OF LIKE THE YEARLING WITH A SEMI-HAPPY ENDING May 6, 2006
This is certainly a well illustrated children's book. The crisp illustrations are well done, and unlike so many books of this genre, the pictures actually match the story line. Now, as to the story line. The reader must place the book in the proper context of time. The lessons taught in the book are good, but I must admit will probably be disturbing to some urban dwellers. There are guns mentioned and yes, hunting is addressed. I myself gave up hunting years and years ago, sort of out grew it I suppose, but understand it and certainly have no animosity toward those who do. Hunting, for one reason or another, has always been a part of our culture and probably always will be at some level. This work specifically addresses that time and place where hunting was accepted as a way of life, a way of survival and a way of protection. Those times did exist and to deny them is like refussing to beleave that this country was never involved in a war, or that this country never did build rail roads. Hey, it's history. Most importantly though, I have found that many kids do enjoy this story, do enjoy the illustrations and do learn some valuable lessons from it. I did agree with the one reviewer that the judgement of the young man's father could be called into question, but on the other hand the boy was taught that there are consequences to dumb decisions and that all of us are, or at least should be, held accountable for them. This to my mind is something we may be a bit lacking in in this day and age. All in all, recommend this one.
i really love this book Dec 8, 2005
this book is realy good and the best book i have ever read.
Oh sure it LOOKS cute and cuddly... Dec 7, 2004
In the November/December 2004 issue of Horn Book Magazine (a title that discusses children's literature with aplomb) there was an article in which an author sobbed at the lack of positive hunting images in picture books and children's novels. I thought through this argument, but since I don't really come from a rural hunting family myself, I guess I never considered this to be a bad thing. Thoughts of this nature surfaced yet again when I picked up Lynd Ward's 1952 Caldecott winning picture book, "The Biggest Bear". A surprisingly sly cautionary tale about the dangers that accompany removing wild animals from their habitats, the book definitely shows a hunting happy family in a positive light. Fortunately, it also considers the consequences that come when you set off to kill something for no reason.
Johnny Orchard's deeply ashamed. Take a look at any barn in the urrounding area and what do you find? A bearhide hanging on its side. Take a look at the Orchard's barn and what do you find there? Nuthin'. While Johnny listens with awe to the tales other men tell of finding and killing bears, his own grandfather ADMITS that on the one occasion he saw a bear he ran as fast as his legs could carry him away from it. Taking matters into his own hands, little Johnny picks up his gun and goes into the forest to kill the biggest bear he can find. As it turns out, the biggest bear he can find is not very big at all. Just a baby. With new eyes Johnny adopts the cuddly furball and takes it into his home. Before long, however, it becomes clear that this is not a bear that is meant to live in a home and Johnny must make the ultimate sacrifice to keep it away.
I'll give away a little of the ending here so as to put your mind at rest. No, Johnny does not pull an "Old Yeller" on his fuzzy companion. He tries to though. Fortunately he's stopped at the last minute and the bear is taken to a zoo to live. Happy ending for all, despite the fact that we're talking about 1950s type tiny-zoos. This is an excellent book for any kid that has ever wanted to have an inappropriate pet of their very own, whether it be wild baby raccoons, rabbits, bears, or foxes. The story shows how domesticated animals can be more trouble than they're worth.... especially bears.
So Ward's book has a clear cut message and a delightful narrative voice. And how're the pictures? Well, they're top notch. Drawn entirely in black and white (with undulating shades of gray around the shadows and details) the pictures in this story are too lifelike to be called cartoony and too cartoony to be called lifelike. Plus, the action sequences in this tale are realistic enough to convince you of their fast pace. Personally, I was most impressed by the facial expressions of the bear. I don't want to give you the impression that Mr. Ward has done anything but make this bear appear vividly bear-like. Still, sometimes the animal gets looks in his eyes that strike you as funny. There's a part where Johnny has attempted to free the bear, only to find it in his backyard a day or two later. In one of these instances the bear appears behind a row of pigs who're poised over a slops trough. The pigs look disgruntled and a little worried that their food is about to be taken from them. The bear, on his part, has a world-weary expression of an animal that could patiently wait for food forever. I place it amongst one of the greatest picture book illustrations in the history of the form.
Unlike other old-timey Caldecott winners like "Make Way For Ducklings" or "The Snowy Day", "The Biggest Bear" has been mostly forgotten. This is a real shame since it's a truly interesting story that has a lot to say to us, even today. It's not flashy and colorful and it's method of spinning a tale won't knock your socks off. It's just a really enjoyable story about a boy, his bear, and taking responsibility for your actions. A great tale to this very day.
"Will you read this to me?" Feb 15, 2004
You know you have a winner when your son (who doesn't really like books) asks that question.
The storyline is cute and the illustrations are nice. It is a perfect children's story.