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Food & Wine

Manresa Bread rising: Tribute to grist & groat

Manresa Bread rising: Tribute to grist & groat

Above Photo by Rhonda Mak/Town Crier; Below Photo by Joyce Oudkerk Pool/Special to the Town Crier; Right Photo courtesy of Manresa Bread
Nabeela Aijaz, above left, retail manager at Manresa Bread’s Los Altos location, teams up with baker Avery R...

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Your Health

ECH's ASPIRE expands to empower struggling youth

ECH's ASPIRE expands to empower struggling youth


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town crier
El Camino Hospital’s mental health and addiction services leaders Michael Fitzgerald and Lauren Olaiz, above, review artwork, right, by participants in the After School Program Intervention and Resiliency Educa...

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Your Home

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers


Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Mary Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy Ran...

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On The Road

Driving England's rural countryside from the left side of the road

Driving England's rural countryside from the left side of the road


We have always enjoyed our visits to England, but this year we did something different. Rather than visit the standard tourist destinations – London, the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and so forth – we decided to explore new areas by car...

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Senior Lifestyles

Q&A: Director of senior programs looks to future with expanded facilities, activities

Q&A: Director of senior programs looks to future with expanded facilities, activities


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Recreation & Community Services Department Director Manny Hernandez praises Los Altos seniors.

 

Manny Hernandez joined the city of Los Altos staff last March as director of the Recreation & Community Services De...

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Wedding To Remember

The Veils of Time

The Veils of Time


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum

For a new spin on the Town Crier’s “Peek into the Past,” the Los Altos History Museum has been gathering historical local wedding photos and the stories behind them.

Frances Elizabeth Shoup, second...

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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 accurately whether ...

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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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