Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bear Noel

Bear Noel

Olivier Dunrea
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006   ISBN: 978-0374400019

Christmas Eve has arrived in the north woods. All is quiet and still as the snow drifts down. Then Hare meets Wolf and the two of them together hear the sound of “heavy footfalls in the forest.” Hare tells Wolf that Bear Noel is coming. The two animals run off to tell the other forest animals that their Christmas celebration is about to begin, for Bear Noel is the one who brings Christmas to all the north woods creatures. They tell Fox, Boar, Hedgehog, Possum, Owl, and Mole about their visitor and as the animals move through the trees they hear the sounds of Bear Noel’s bells jingling, the sound of his laugh, and the sound of his songs.

At last, as they all wait, Bear Noel arrives and he gives them their gifts, inviting them all to “come together without fear” to enjoy the treats that he has brought them.

Stunningly illustrated to perfectly capture the beauty of the north woods in winter, the creator of this book tells a wonderful tale which animals lovers of all ages will delight in. We are reminded that Christmas is for everyone, even for those of us who have fur, feathers, bushy tails, and long digging claws. Readers might be inspired to play Bear Noel for the wild animals in their area, creating a feast for the creatures who make our world a more beautiful place by their presence.