- Bear Goes Sugaring by Maxwell Eaton III
Eaton III, Maxwell Bear Goes Sugaring; written and illus. by Maxwell Eaton III. Porter/Holiday House, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-8234-4448-9 $18.99 Reviewed from galleys R* 4-8 yrs
As winter draws to a close, with freezing nights but warming days, Bear observes that it's time to tap her trees and make maple syrup, and that sounds mighty good to Dog and Squirrel, who know that maple syrup signals stacks of pancakes. Eaton breaks the whole DIY process into detailed steps, highlighting the tools Bear uses to drill and tap, the role of the collecting buckets, the estimated proportions of sap to syrup, the construction of an outdoor evaporation unit, the boiling off of sap water, the straining and finishing of the syrup indoors, and of course, the pancakes. While Bear goes happily and confidently through her well-practiced paces, Dog and Squirrel provide just the right amount of kibitzing and isn't-it-ready-yet histrionics. This cheery title will serve equally well as a humorously cartooned winter idyll or an actual guide book with suggestions on how to accomplish a smaller scale production. Then regardless of choice—aspirational or practical—there must, of course, be pancakes.