Monday, September 6, 2010

Books We Wish Were In Print: Dusty's Beary Tales

Because we're book lovers to the core, we often find out of print books we love. That's what today's special feature "Books We Wish Were In Print" is all about: Books that, if we were publishers, we'd reprint in a heart beat.
Here's my pick.

Dusty's Beary Tales: Building Character with Bible Virtues is a favorite in our household. Ruthann Winana and Linda Lee's stories focus on a young bear named Dusty, his baby brother JJ, his sister Ashley, and his Papa and Mama. They live an old fashioned life in Honey Pine Woods, where God is the focus and kindness is key. We read all about Dusty's grumpy mornings, lost treasure (both real and imagined), and how Dusty learns everything isn't what it seems. We learn about facing fear and finding courage, how to express thankfulness, and much, much more. Here's a little taste:
"[Mama] handed Dusty a scroll. When he unrolled it, he saw 'Dusty's Lost Treasure Map' written in crayon across the top and a drawing of Dusty's attic room. Beside the drawing, was a list of all the items that Dusty had lost lately.

'You are the great Indiana Jones in search of lost treasure. We are your search and rescue team. Together, we are going to find your treasures and restore them to their rightful place in your room.'

'Sounds like cleaning my room, Mama,' said Dusty with one eyebrow raised.

'Nonsense!' Mama declared. 'You'll never have an adventure if you look at things that way. Ordinary bears see chores as just one of the bare necessities of life. But you come a long line of extraordinary bears. We look at all sorts of ordinary things as opportunities for adventure!'

'Even chores?'Dusty questioned.

'Especially chores!' Mama assured. 'Why, if it weren't for your Great Grandpa Griz doing his chores, Honey Pine Woods might never have been discovered!'

'Really?' the cubs marveled.

'Oh, yes!' Then she stood and announced, 'Let the adventure begin!''
The stories are told with such sweetness, and young children get a clear take-away message. Mara Mattia's illustrations are warm and detailed, and each page is scattered with Bible verses, key thoughts, recipes related to the stories, riddles, activities, and questions for parents and children to ponder.

What I Like: This is such a rich book, packed full of information to help kids with everyday problems. We love the recipes linked to the stories (for example, Mama Bear's "secret recipe" for honey cakes) and fun activity ideas. I highly recommend this book, and would put it back in print if I could!

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: I'd say about 3 to 8.

Publishing Info: Harvest House, 1996; ISBN: 978-1565074965; hardback

Buy NOW from Amazon for $14.95 (new) or $1.46 (used)

Special Info: For a peek at the illustrations in this book, see Mara Mattia's website.

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