Little Cub

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Little Cub Book Poster Image
Old Bear finds Little Cub, ends loneliness in sweet story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows what bears eat and a little of what life is like for bears who live outdoors, but also shows an anthropomorphized bear who lives in a cabin and sleeps in a bed like humans. 

Positive Messages

Old Bear is kind and caring toward Little Cub and protective of him; Little Cub is very appreciative of this. The underlying message is that life is nicer when you share it with someone else.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Old Bear takes in a homeless, parentless cub and becomes very fond and protective of him. He's willing to have his life and routines disrupted and sees the rewards in living with someone, as opposed to having everything he needs to survive but living all alone with no one to share his bounty with.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Cub is a prequel to Olivier Dunrea's Old Bear and His Cub that shows readers how the characters from that first picture book met -- when both bears were living alone in the forest. Despite their age difference, they have a lot in common: They're both lonely. Little Cub wishes he had someone to teach him how to catch fish and get honey. Old Bear has plenty of fish and honey but wishes he had someone to share them with. The two come together in this gentle tale that's perfect for bedtime or anytime.

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What's the story?

Little Cub has no one to take care of him and doesn't like living alone in the forest. Old Bear lives in a cozy cabin in the forest but doesn't like living alone, either. He wishes he had someone to share his fish and honey with. Little Cub wishes someone would teach him how to fish and how to get honey from a hive without being stung. Finally Old Bear runs across Little Cub and takes him in. They find they like not being alone, and Old Bear promises to teach Little Cub how to get food so he will never be hungry again. Old Bear puts Little Cub to bed, tells him a story, and the little one falls asleep. \"Good night, Little Cub,\" says Old Bear. \"I'm glad you're here.\"

Is it any good?

LITTLE CUB is a sweet, gentle story of two bears who find that they fit together perfectly. Little Cub needs a mentor and guardian, and Old Bear needs companionship. This adoptive relationship echoes that of father and son or grandparent and grandchild. And it shows how happiness can come not from remaining set in your ways but by opening yourself up to sharing your life with another.

Olivier Dunrea's spare, emotive illustrations tell a lot about the characters in each image, making it easy for little ones to grasp the changes in the story as it builds. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like for kids to have a relationship with an older person. Are you close to your grandparents? Is it fun to be with them even though they're old? What's special about it?

  • Did you read the first book about these two characters, Old Bear and His Cub? Is it fun to find out how they got together in the first place? 

  • Do you like animal stories? What other books or movies about animals can you remember enjoying? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and animals

Themes & Topics

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