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Food & Wine

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Todd Miner pulls pumpkin pies hot from his traveling oven at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market – and will keep baking at Mountain View’s Sunday market when the Los Altos market season ends Sept. 29.

Only two weeks remain to...

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Your Health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health


Photos courtesy of nadia ghaffari
Months after founding the website TeenzTalk, Ghaffari, second from left, spoke with international teens at the Yale program about methods to overcome stress.

When Nadia Ghaffari went to Yale University this summer ...

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Your Home

Permanent pop-ups: Prefabricated homes hit the local remodel market

Permanent pop-ups: Prefabricated homes hit the local remodel market


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Krivokon family of Mountain View observes the installation of a prefabricated home on Pilgrim Avenue.

Pop-up houses are sprouting like mushrooms around Los Altos and Mountain View, but unlike other pop-up structur...

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On The Road

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids


Photos Courtesy of Gary Anderson
Despite the price difference between the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, above, and the Hyundai Sonata the two cars share a number of features.

 

The Presidio of San Francisco has existed as a settlement and milita...

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Senior Lifestyles

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym


Courtesy of Brandpoint
To ward off “gym-timidation,” fitness expert Brian Zehetner encourages seniors to find a workout buddy and start slowly.

No one really relishes the idea of growing older and experiencing the health issues that can accompan...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Bears emerge from hibernation to delight young readers

Little Bear is the endearing young cub at the center of Else Holmelund Minarik’s “Little Bear” series. In her books, short vignettes full of heart unfold in a simple, Dick-and-Jane style appropriate for early readers. But the books’ life and charm ultimately come from Maurice Sendak’s illustrations.

Scratchy pen-and-ink drawings and simple color washes draw us into a childhood world full of nostalgia. The nuances of facial expression and body language communicate Little Bear’s personality – a personality not unlike Sendak’s famously feisty Max from “Where the Wild Things Are” (Harper & Row, 1963), the 1964 Caldecott Medal winner.

One of Little Bear’s early adventures involves his abrupt announcement that he will fly to the moon.

“I’m going now. Just look for me up in the sky,” he tells Mother Bear as he sets out wearing a cardboard-box helmet topped with twirly antennae. He may be an adventurer, but spunk and imagination are always balanced with innocence in Minarik’s stories – and framed with the intimacy of home.

Mother Bear is a realist who radiates tenderness, much like the mother rabbit in Margaret Wise Brown’s “The Runaway Bunny” (HarperCollins, revised, 2005). In “Little Bear,” the first book in the series (Perfection Learning, 1957), she may challenge Little Bear’s dreams of flight, but she is also the one to surprise him with an unexpected birthday cake.

The books’ sweet, domestic charm is reflected in the last chapter of “Little Bear.”

“You always make me happy,” Little Bear tells Mother Bear as he gets ready for bed.

“Little Bear’s Visit” (HarperCollins, 1979), in which family stories captivate the little cub during a visit to his grandparents’ house, is a Caldecott Honor Book.

Michael Bond’s Paddington is another kind of innocent altogether: a bumbling bear set loose in the big-city world of London, where he gets into wonderfully absurd scrapes.

In “A Bear Called Paddington” (Houghton Mifflin, 1958), the first of the series, the Browns adopt Paddington after finding him at Paddington Station’s “lost property” desk, wearing a placard marked “Please look after this bear.” Paddington is more lost cause than lost property, and the Browns come to be fondly wary of their muddle-prone charge from Darkest Peru.

I discovered Paddington when I was 8 years old and living in London for a year with my mother. The hilarity that ensued as Paddington committed one blunder after another often made it hard for us to read the books aloud to each other on the Tube, where our laughing fits outnumbered the station stops.

Like the sensible housekeeper, Mrs. Bird, we could sense the impending disasters, and the dramatic tension was delicious as we watched simple projects like repainting a room or cooking dumplings turn apocalyptic.

Though he may be misguided, Paddington is driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, and there’s something beguiling about the bewilderment he feels as his well-intentioned actions constantly backfire. It’s impossible not to love this gentle, bungling arbiter of justice, with his fondness for marmalade sandwiches and hot cocoa. And fittingly, the stories always end well, thanks in large part to the good sense and good humor of others.

Bond received the Order of the British Empire for services to children’s literature in 1997. And it’s because he’s created one of the most compelling bears in chapter-book history.

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