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B is for Bear

A Natural Alphabet

6-1/2 x 9; $16.99

32 pages

ISBN: 9781632170392

A is for Acorn; B is for Bear; C is for Cloud. Celebrated paper artist Hannah Viano has created this beautiful alphabet book that will appeal to children as well as adults. The flora, fauna, and landscape elements in this book are found throughout North America, so readers around the country will connect with Viano's gorgeous art and text that are both scientific and poetic.

A childhood spent on the rocky Maine coast introduced Hannah Viano to the wonders of the natural world. A decade as an outdoor educator from Ketchikan to Cape Horn added the joy of sharing her knowledge and sense of place with others. Viano is the author of S is for Salmon and Arrow to Alaska.

Viano interprets the letters with dramatic paper cuttings in a sophisticated, artistic style. Each page is bordered in black with stylized images that resemble poster art of the early 1900s, but they are crafted with a contemporary graphic style with striking results. The words chosen for the letters all relate to nature, as the subtitle suggests. Most of them will be familiar to young readers such as "dandelion," "fawn," "grass," "lightning bug," and "violet." Pleasingly, K is for "kids," underscoring the importance of the outdoors to child development. Viano's liberal approach makes the typically difficult letters relatively easy: there is "Queen Anne's lace," "underground," and "lynx" (for X). The top of each page cites a capital and lowercase letter, with the key word opposite and descriptive sentences running across the bottom that often offer tantalizing facts. "This NEST belongs to paper wasps and is made from a mixture of chewed-up wood and spit." The images are similar to Nikki McClure's, made by cutting black paper and then coloring the resulting negative space digitally. The swirling school of herring is simply astounding. While adults are more likely to appreciate the artwork than children, the elegance of the images will leave an imprint with even very young listeners. Rate this book with an A and an O for awesome and outstanding.
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Viano’s S Is for Salmon (2014) focused on the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Now she celebrates a more expansive landscape, captured in crisp images cut from black paper and colored digitally. Tidy black rectangles frame each illustration, accompanied by brief captions with intriguing details; on the page for a spiral of tiny herring, set against a subdued blue backdrop, “keep safe by swimming together.” Elsewhere readers can learn the scientific name for lightning bugs (Lampyridae), that ants like to hang out in the petals of Queen Anne’s lace, and that wild violets can be found sprouting under dead leaves in the spring. An emphatic love of nature courses through the book, starting with its dedication, “to all of those who let children run a little wild, climbing trees and splashing in puddles.
—Publishers Weekly

The illustrations in B is for Bear are perfectly stunning...B is for Bear, and for book, beautiful and breathtaking!
—Good Reads with Ronna

B Is for Bear: A Natural Alphabet is a brand new book of paper-cut illustrations that includes animals and natural features from farther afield. Of all of the outdoor creatures she mentions in this book, from jackrabbits to yellow-bellied sapsuckers, I confess my favorite entry is for the letter K. Her short simple text reads, "What is another creature that belongs outdoors? KIDS!" and her illustration shows a tree with children climbing the branches.
—The Bookmonger, Kitsap Sun

Parents and teachers, make room on your bookshelves for two new titles. B is for Bear: A Natural Alphabet is Hannah Viano’s follow-up to S is for Salmon. The book is more general than her first effort, but it is a lovely addition to any primary collection. It features clean lines, striking paper-cut art, and informative text featuring flora and fauna.
—Hakai magazine

E is for Excellent! Finally an alphabet book for nature lovers and dedicated "to all of those who let children run a little wild.
—Midwest Book Review

Simply beautiful.
—New York Botanical Garden 

Children as well as adults…will connect to Viano’s gorgeous art and text that are both scientific and poetic.
—Addicted to Saving
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