________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 7. . . .October 16, 2015


Cub’s Journey Home.

Georgia Graham.
Markham, ON: Red Deer Press, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover & Web PDF, $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-88995-516-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-55244-418-4 (Web PDF).

Subject Heading:
Black bear-Juvenile fiction

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Roxy Garstad.

** /4



A tiny speck has been lying deep in her belly since the last ice turned to running water and the spring meadows sprang with tender shoots. It remained there when the summer days grew long and hot. And when a chill returned to the air and the leaves became brittle, it waited still. But as the bear falls into a deep winter slumber, the tiny speck begins to grow.


Cub’s Journey Home depicts the beginning of life, and first few months, of a bear called Little Cub. Starting with a description of his mother’s hibernation experience, the reader learns about the conditions upon which a cub is born and then is catapulted into the adventures of Little Cub’s first spring. His experiences include obtaining honey, along with the accompanying (and unpleasant) bee stings, facing the dangers of a forest fire, becoming lost, and being terrorized by other bears at a garbage dump. Ultimately, none of these incidents mar his happy young life. Found, at last, by his mother, Little Cub returns safely home.

internal art     What could have been an inspirational story was hampered by the overly descriptive language. More concise writing would hold the attention of a younger reader. In addition, the incorporation of predictable and almost clichéd experiences, such as visiting a garbage dump and experiencing a forest fire, lend the tale a didactic flair that is cumbersome to the story. Is it realistic that a small cub could experience all of these challenges in just the first few months of his life? I would argue not. Bears living in the wilderness of Alberta, where the book is based, would be hard-pressed (and unlucky) to have these experiences over a lifetime. While it is lovely to teach ecological principles to young readers, the manner in which it was done in this book was overbearing. Its saving grace – and reason for earning two stars – is the excellent illustrative work that was done to highlight certain aspects of the story. Cub’s Journey Home can only be recommended only for comprehensive children’s book collections at large public libraries.

Recommended with Reservations.

Roxy Garstad is the Collection Assessment Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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