Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh

I've had to break my own rule here.  Generally I try to include the cover images that matches the copy of the book I read, whether or not it's a first edition.  This time around, the library's copy of the book has a one-of-a-kind cover hand-drawn years ago by an 11-year-old back in the 1990's.  Her name was on the back.  I wrote her; she's in her 30's with a child now.  She was amazed that this is still in a library somewhere :-)

We've encountered our good friend Alice Dalgliesh twice before.  However, unlike the other youth novels we've covered in the blog, this is intended for much younger readers.  Although it's divided into chapters, this is definitely a one-sitting read.

Jonathan lives by the foot of a mid-sized hill, named (not especially accurately) Hemlock Mountain.  His family is planning to host a christening, but because they have such a large extended family they will need to borrow aunt Emma's giant soup tureen.  Because the adults are busy with preparations, Jonathan is sent over the hill to bring it back.  Although no bear has been seen there in recent memory, Jonathan is still concerned about heading out alone (he's never been before).  Not especially reassured by his parents' insistence that there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain, he heads out and reaches his destination safely.

Stomach full from aunt Emma's cookies, Jonathan naps in her chair and forgets that he was charged with returning with the soup tureen before dark.  He wakes up just in time to lug it back up the hill.  But as dusk falls, Jonathan sees two sets of eyes attached to two dark, hulking bodies, moving through the trees. . . what to do?

This book would make a fantastic read-aloud for younger children.  I may read it to mine before it goes back to the library!

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