The story is of a little girl Sal and her mother as they go out into the country to pick blueberries for winter, and a bear and his mother as they go to eat berries for winter from the other side of the same hill. Set in a small town in Maine this picture book piece that uses a single dark blue color and block printing for the illustrations.
Sal and Sal's mother are modeled after McCloskey's wife, Margaret, and daughter, Sarah.
"The book opens and closes with a picture of little Sal and her mother in the kitchen, the mother is canning blueberries. This very domestic opening is typical of the warmth of McCloskey who loved life, life for living as much as anything else. One sees in this opening picture Sal entertaining herself by placing the canning rings on her wrist and a spoon, a simple childlike act which helps to set the stage for Sal's obvious child actions throughout the books. This is not to be the overly diligent or angelic girl of so many other books, Sal is a real child figure. She gets into mischief and causes her mom no end of trouble.”
The book uses a number of visual narrative (illustration) techniques as will as verbal techniques to draw parallels between and at the same time contrast the bear and the human families. Both families are set in similar compositions, but they head in... Read More