Summer Reading List: Else Holmelund Minarik

Last week, the world of children’s literature suffered another profound loss – the passing of Little Bear author Else Holmelund Minarik.

Miniark wrote five Little Bear titles, each hand illustrated by recently departed children’s book giant Maurice Sendak.

Beyond the whimsy Sendak added to this adorable series, we love Little Bear for many reasons. Each book, typically containing three or four short stories, follows the adventures of Little Bear – a thoughtful and sometimes precocious bear and the tales told to him by his loving family and friends.

As the initial title in the celebrated line of I Can Read Books (which now numbers over 200 books), the Little Bear series is wonderful for beginning readers. But it is Miniark’s carefully crafted stories make them truly enjoyable. Each short story is tied to others in subtle ways, making them one of the twins’ most popular requests to explore at bedtime.

They are popular with Mom, however, not just because of the charming simplicity of their plots, but because of the tenderness demonstrated by Little Bear and his family and friends. In 2006, Minarik said she picked bears as the cast of characters because of the sense of family she observed on her visits to the Bronx Zoo with her mother.

In a world of saturated with the sarcasm of Sponge-Bob, male characters who are both adventurous and tenderhearted are nearly extinct. Little Bear is one fun exception.

Check out our other summer reading recommendations:

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.