Review from 'The Simple Moms'
With the devastating events that have been occurring around the country these past few weeks I thought that I’d move up my schedule for sharing this wonderful new book from our friends at Sleeping Bear Press. I won’t even pretend to understand what people who have been personally impacted by a devastating event such as a hurricane, forest fire, or tornado go through, but I will say that it breaks my heart to see these displaced families and my children are always concerned for the families and people affected.
To help with some of the questions my children have been having about what happens after an event like a big storm we have been reading When the Wind Blew by Petra Brown. This book is for ages 4-8 but even older kids (like my almost 10 year old) can benefit from the conversations that this book can easily start for you.
The book starts with Big Bear and Little Bear sleeping in their snug and cozy den, when Little Bear is woken by a loud scary sound. In the morning Big Bear and Little Bear expect to start their day as normal and instead find that a storm raged through overnight and damaged the surrounding forest.
Big Bear and Little Bear then set out to find a new home where they will still be able to find food and shelter. Throughout their long day of travel we hear some of Little Bear’s fears, “Did the wind hurt the water?” And “What if all the trees in the world had blown down?”
At the end of the day Little Bear and Big Bear find their new home and Little Bear comes to the realization that “… when I’m with you, wherever we are, I feel I’m at home.”
Petra Brown does a lovely job of tackling a very scary subject for kids and making it much less scary with her friendly illustrations and cute interactions between Big Bear and Little Bear. I really appreciate how this has made it easy to reassure my kids that as long as we’re safe and together we are home.
Review by NC Teacher Stuff
When The Wind Blew
written and illustrated by Petra Brown
2017 (Sleeping Bear Press)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
They looked in wonder at all the broken stumps and ragged roots. Yesterday the trees had stretched up to the sky, high above their heads.
Little Bear hears big noises outside his cave. He is nervous. Big Bear assures him they are safe. Little Bear, comforted, goes back to sleep. When they wander outside their cave in the morning, they see all of the trees that have been downed by the wind. The good news? For today, it will be easier to get to the fruit and honey they crave. The bad news? They have to find a new cave because the fruit trees will stop producing and the bees will go elsewhere. This is a nice piece of cause and effect that could be pointed out in a first or second grade classroom. All throughout, Big Bear reassures Little Bear with an optimistic attitude. The two float down the river until they come to a place to walk onshore. Walking alongside the river, the bear duo comes to a valley where the trees are upright because they are protected by a cliff. Again, Big Bear reminds Little Bear that, like the trees, he is always going to be protected. After a bit of a tricky walk involving gaps to jump and trees to slide down, they find a place with shady tall trees, honey, and fruit. In addition, there is a new cave that they can call home. As they curl up in their new home, Little Bear remarks, "I don't miss our old den at all. Because when I'm with you, wherever we are, I feel I'm at home." Tell me you didn't just go all "Awww!" inside. And that's exactly what your class will do.
This is a terrific book to read to young children in the face of a natural disaster. It's so important to comfort them in these situations. When the Wind Blew also serves as a model of what to do when things go wrong. The bears stay optimistic and move on to find a solution. As previously noted, there are also several examples of cause and effect and there's some nice opportunities here to talk about habitats and life cycles as well. On top of all that, this is a sweet book that will be a nice bedtime story too.
Posted by Jeff Barger
Review by Picture Book Depot
Change can be scary, especially a change caused by a natural event or disaster that is out of our hands. That’s the premise of author Petra Brown’s newest picture book, When the Wind Blew.
The book opens to a quiet night of snoozing, snuggling and sweet dreams as a big brown bear and a cuddly little bear get their beauty sleep. As little ones are prone to do, Little Bear awakes the moment he hears a “roaring sort of sound,” but he soon goes back to sleep when Big Bear reassures him that it’s only the wind.
But when Little Bear and Big Bear finally awake and step outside to fetch breakfast, Little Bear is shocked. The forest trees that stretched to the sky only yesterday have been knocked over by the wind. Things seem scary and uncertain. Thanks goodness Big Bear is there to answer questions.
When the Wind Blew is a visually and conceptually beautiful book that is so much more than just a book about forest animals. It is also about life and the lightning-fast and ofttimes irreversible changes that happen as we live it — and in many cases, often while little ones are asleep. It is about adults and guardians providing stability and security and words of wisdom and comfort when scary things happen. It’s about children gaining strength from that wisdom and realizing that life does indeed go on.
Ms. Brown’s prose is sweet, innocent and so realistic that young readers will easily identify with Little Bear’s hopes and fears. Her illustrations capture the warm and fuzzy look that we associate with bears, including expressions of love, confusion and hope on the bears’ faces. She uses soft pastels and warm earth tones to offer picture book lovers everything from the peaceful darkness of the bears’ slumber chamber to the shocking view of once-proud trees snapped off at their base to a pristine lake flanked by soft blue mountains.
Use this book in early elementary classrooms as a jumping off point for discussions about change, fear, and moving forward in life. This book also makes a nice lap book before, during or just after stormy evenings at home.