Our Woolly Bear

Owlkids. Mar. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771476003.
PreS-Gr 2–An autumn guest arrives at the seaside home of Edie and Lou, blue-eyed sisters with pale skin and dark hair. The sisters narrate how they discovered their visitor, a fuzzy black and orange caterpillar, meandering the leafy greens of their vegetable garden. They eagerly offer the critter pine needles and pebbles for nesting, thyme leaves for nibbling, and comforting songs. Edie and Lou, with their encouraging parents, research the caterpillar, to which the narrators assign the pronouns “she” and “her,” and which will become an Isabella Tiger Moth by spring. Woolly Bear joins the family’s peaceful, homey life of simple routines, which connect them with nature, their community, and one another. They savor the extraordinary in the completely ordinary until the end of fall, and the caterpillar disappears for the winter. In the spring, leaving puddles of cereal milk and child trinkets at the breakfast table, the family plants a sapling in their yard near the sea. Meanwhile, an Isabella Tiger Moth lingers on the window of their perfectly imperfect home unnoticed, watching the family from afar. Arthur’s debut picture book is gentle, cherishing quiet comforts, and honestly depicts a folksy, close-knit family living an unhurried life. Illustrations combine eclectic, contemporary textile patterns with traditional, earthy, warm colors: dusty goldenrod, olive green, and burnt sienna. The illustrations hum with a feeling of peace and contentment, whispering reminders of the artwork of Patricia Polacco. For curious minds, pair this picture book with nonfiction texts to delve into the metamorphosis of caterpillars.
VERDICT A lovely demonstration of slow living, this mellow story inspires readers to relish ordinary, delicate wonders.

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