In her latest book, Jeannie Brett invites her readers to explore the world — bear by bear.
The colorful children’s book, titled, “Wild About Bears” takes its readers on great adventures. Turn the pages and travel to China to visit the panda bear and learn about its favorite cuisine — lush bamboo. Along the same journey, readers explore the frozen tundra where the life and habitat of the polar bear are demystified.
A nonfiction work, “Wild About Bears” is recommended for children ages 6 to 9. Brett categorizes the book as a survey text, which breaks the subject down into various subtopics and provides a general introduction to the world of bears. Whether it’s a parent introducing the book at home, or an educator using the book in the classroom, this text is meant to inspire a world of learning — and not just about bears.
“I wanted it to be jumping off point,” said Brett. “As children are learning about pandas, they might say, ‘what other animals live in China?”
The book includes a glossary, a map of all the places in the world bears can be found, and information about bear environments and conservation. It is endorsed by the Great Bear Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of the eight bear species and their habitat around the world
Brett, a York resident for more than three decades, says the inspiration for this book took root over 12 years ago during a road trip to Montana. Brett and her family were assured that while they were in the wilderness, it would be highly unlikely that they’d have a bear sighting. And yet, minutes after passing through the gate into Glacier National Park, they spotted two black bears close to the road. Hours later, while taking a hike, they saw two grizzly bears enjoying a stroll down a well-traveled trail.
“We started to call ourselves bear magnets,” said Brett.
As her family’s trip continued, so did the bear encounters, but not in a dangerous way. For Brett, the bears were part of the habitat and were fascinating creatures.
As the creative process for “Wild About Bears” unfolded, Brett drew upon her curious experience in Montana.
She wanted to create a book where children could be engaged in bears, not as scary animals but for their interesting characteristics — including how they raise their young, adapt to their environment and find food.
Brett felt it was imperative to shine a light on bears’ beauty, power and important place in nature.
“It isn’t that they aren’t dangerous,” said Brett, “but I wanted children to think about bears as fascinating animals and want to keep them in our world.”
For Brett, a self-proclaimed animal lover who comes from a family of artists and went to school to hone her artistic talents, creating the book was truly a labor of love — one that took about two years. She would take trips to Montana to view bears in their habitat to gain inspiration for the drawings and text. The end result of Brett’s inspiration and adventures is a work that offers the bare necessities about bears.
The book launch of “Wild About Bears” will be a interactive opportunity for children to learn about bears. The launch will be held on April 26 at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. Brett will be signing books and taking participants on a (safe) bear adventure — including making bear masks, doing imagination drawings, learning the speed of bears, and learning the different adaptations of bears. Children can even learn how a bear paw compares in size to a child’s “paw.”
Brett’s newest project is illustrating a book called “Decorated Horses,” which will be authored by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, and will be about different cultures and how they decorate their horses — from ancient China to modern times.
Brett has illustrated many books, including “M Is for Mayflower: A Massachusetts Alphabet” and “My Cat, Coon Cat”.
For information on Brett and her works, visit her Web site: www.jeanniebrett.com/.