A story about a decidedly uncuddly mother bear; The Grizzly Bear with the Golden Ears, by Jean Craighead George, pictures by Tom Catania. New York: Harper & Row. 31 pp. $8.25. (Ages 4-8.)
To a degree, author and naturalist Jean Craighead George has relayed factual information about grizzly bears in words that children can understand.
Through the story of a mother bear and her cub who exhaust their local food supply and are forced to move on, their habits and habitats are described: ''. . . in the winter when ice storms crackled, they slept under the roots of the spruce trees in the foothills of the rugged Aleutian Mountains.''
The story's flow, however, is uneven because of gaps in the information, as the author attempts to create fiction for young children based on fact. For instance, the motivation behind the mother bear's actions is unclear when she steals fish from other bears and then from people. This leaves the reader wondering whether she migrated to a new area in search of food to eat, or because she had learned a moral lesson about stealing. Questions such as these may tend to confuse young readers.
In spite of its flaws, the overall plot, with the help of pen and ink illustrations, makes one crucial point: Not all bears are cuddly - especially grizzlies.