"Where, Oh Where, is Baby Bear"

Delight youngsters with the story of a cute little bear cub and its mama — the affectionate pair in “Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear?” written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. This is the third book featuring Baby Bear, which has been named the January Baby Buzz Pick.

Each month The Missourian selects a stellar hardcover book for little ones birth to age 5. A review of the book appears in the second weekend issue of the newspaper.

Ashley Wolff’s newest Baby Bear adventure begins with Mama Bear explaining to her cub that the bats flying out of the den are off to look for food. It’s a mission that appeals to the curious cub — so begins a search that introduces Baby Bear to the forest; along the way, hidey places make for a spirited game of hide and seek.

“Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?” says Mama Bear when her offspring disappears into a mossy log. “Here I am . . .,” Baby Bear retorts, in a series of escapades that mirror a child’s game.

“Baby Bear climbs a tree, peeks out from behind a waterfall, ducks between cat-tails in a pond, and climbs to the top of a boulder, each location providing food for Mama, from berries to trout, and her repeated refrain, “Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?” To which her baby answers, “Here I am Mama . . . ,” the cub’s whereabouts added at the end of each each statement.

Finally at day’s end, a super moon hanging in the midnight-blue sky, Mama urges her cub home, “Come along now, Baby Bear,” and the two retrace their steps, “. . . through the meadow, around the pond, across the river, down the cliff, and into their den,” the twisty journey making a fascinating trail for children to trace with their pointer finger.

Wolff’s woodblock illustrations introduce a cast of creatures, from animals, to fish, to amphibians, that children can identify, making Wolff’s book both entertaining and informative. Her two previous books starring Baby Bear are “Baby Bear Sees Blue,” which focuses on colors, and “Bear Bear Counts One,” a book about numbers.