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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,368 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
"When Jonathan's mother sent him over Hemlock Mountain to borrow a large iron pot from Aunt Emma, he wasn't quite sure he liked the idea of going alone. . . . a story that will delight children because of its lively writing".--Horn Book.
Hardcover, 63 pages
Published December 31st 1990 by Scribner Book Company (first published July 1st 1952)
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I'm trying to figure out why this won a 1953 Newbery Honor. At first I thought that 1952 must have been a very unexceptional year for children's literature. Then I looked at the winners. Charlotte's Web was also an Honor that year (along with three others), losing out to Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark. WHAT THE HECK? Bears on Hemlock Mountain received the same award as Charlotte & Wilbur? Unthinkable. What was this Newbery Committee thinking? How could any other children's book of th ...more
I loved the woodcut illustrations in this book. I can see how it would be perfect for kids that are just starting to read longer books. It's a Newberry Honor book! Other reviewers seem to think this story is shallow and lame. I think that the story The Bears on Hemlock Mountain reads like an oral tradition or folk tale. There is repetition, which I can see children delighting in memorizing and repeating with their parents or teacher during a read aloud.

This book was written in 1952, but harks b
Linda Lipko
How I wish I had the time and energy to devote to an intensive study of the changes and developments of the early Newbery books compared to those of the last ten years. It is amazing when I read some of the wonderful Newbery books written in the last few years, especially those written by Christopher Paul Curtis, Gary Schmidt, Jacqueline Woodson and Patricia Reilly Giff to name a few, and compare them to much earlier works.

Case in point is The Bears On Hemlock Mountain written by Alice Dalgliesh
Nov 21, 2008 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
(I'm reading all the Newbery Honor books from the year Charlotte's Web got an Honor instead of winning, to see if any of them are any good.)

I could not be more puzzled by this book's Newbery Honor. The Newbery is awarded for the "most distinguished work"; presumably the Honors are given for "distinguished work"; and distinguished is the last word I'd use to describe this ordinary easy-reader. It isn't particularly funny, or poetic, or exciting; it doesn't present a moral in a profound way. They
Shanna Gonzalez
Nov 09, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-04-08
Jonathan and his family live at the foot of the big hill that is called Hemlock Mountain. One spring, expecting many relatives for a feast, his mother sends him over Hemlock Mountain to fetch a large iron pot from his aunt. All of the adults (except his Uncle James, who has taught him how to observe wildlife) believe that there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain, but Jonathan isn't so sure. Still, he makes it across without meeting any. At his aunt's house he eats too many cookies and falls asleep ...more
This is what those mid to late-range phonics books should be like. A great story that is repetitive in its language and rhythm and rhyme and feels more like a traditonal tale than one that has been cobbled together to hit high frequency words. This is an American tale which has been built on an old Pennsylvainian folk tale. It tells the story of a young boy who is sent over a hill (Hemlock Mountain) to fetch a great iron cooking pot from his aunt. He is worried throughout that the bears of the m ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Josiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would probably give this book one and a half stars. It has a nice regional Pennsylvania feel to it, something that means a lot to me personally due to my family's close connections in the rural section of the state.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain is not typical of what usually received Newbery Honor nods, but it is written in the same Alice Dalgliesh style that garnered her two additional Newbery Honor citations.
Copyrighted in 1952, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain represents a time when children's literature was full of stuff and nonsense, repetition, and dull, lifeless illustrations. Jonathan has many cousins and as a christening looms for the newest member in the family, his mother realizes she needs an extra big cooking pot to feed them all. She sends Jonathan over Hemlock Mountain to fetch the pot from his aunt...never believing there are bears on the mountain.

His trek is long, wearisome, and full of
Eyal Suseela
I'd never heard of this book until we got a submission video for our library's 90 Second Newbery program and after watching it, I had to read the book.

The story follows young Jonathan, who is sent over Hemlock Mountain to get a big iron pot from his aunt, so that his mother can cook enough food for her 23 family members. Good thing there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain. (Spoiler Alert: The video tells me there is at LEAST one bear on Hemlock Mountain. This bear looks suspiciously like a fluffy
Nov 12, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story took place in the Hemlock Mountain,Forest, and Aunt Annie’s.The main characters are Jonathan, Uncle James, Aunt Annie.They seem real because what happened, could happen in real life.Jonathan looks like 9 or 10 years old.He is in coats,scarf,and other winter gear.“Young Uncle James had eyes that saw and ears that heard.” It means that he has great sense of hearing and sight. It is important to have when you live in the wilderness to detect any danger.Jonathan's mother cooks stew for 23 ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
I have to agree with other reviewers. There is nothing remarkable about this story. Nothing that I could find to make it worthy of a Newbery Honor award. Have I read ones that are less deserving? Yes, absolutely. Books that WON the Newbery and were less deserving. It's not the worst I've read on the Newbery Honor list (I'm about 1/4 finished with that project)--with hundreds of books left to read on my list, the thing I liked best about this book was its length! In all seriousness though, the wo ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Dani rated it liked it
This book is not profound or poetic or deep, and really, it's surprising that it received the Newbery Honor. However, it is a very easy read that I enjoyed as a third grader, and now I read it aloud to a group of second and third graders and they enjoyed it as well. My students loved chanting along with the refrain ("There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain...) and they loved the suspense of knowing there probably were bears, despite what all the characters in the book believed.

The kids liked this
Miss Kelly
Feb 09, 2016 Miss Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many, many moons ago when I was younger. There have been several bear sightings lately in Ohio and it made me think of this book so I had to re-read it. It is a little dated, but really good. It is about a boy who needs to go over Hemlock Mountain to get a cooking pot from his Auntie, but he is afraid of bears; however, everyone tells him there is no bears. You will have to read this to see if he makes it over the mountain without seeing any bears....
Lesa Loves Books
Like most reviewers, I'm astounded that this book won a Newbery Honor. I appreciate it for what it is, a cute simple folk tale suitable for early chapter book readers (2nd/3rd grade) but it certainly isn't the caliber of all the other Newbery Winners and Honors that I've read. And definitely not in the same league as 'Charlotte's Web' which also won a Newbery Honor the same year.
Apr 24, 2016 Misti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan's mother sends him over the mountain to borrow a stew pot from his aunt . . . but what if there are bears? This very short story has a similar feel to the Little House books. I think beginning readers just making the jump to chapter books would still enjoy it. Older readers will find it too simplistic.
Gina Halstead
This was an enjoyable book with plenty of ways to draw connections and repetition for the younger audience. I liked the rural setting of the book as well as how it was obviously set in an era much simpler than today. Other than those things, I was a little surprised that this simple little book won a Newberry Honor.
Aug 29, 2015 Lynley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something about the rhythm of the language reminded me of The Poky Little Puppy. I guess they're both American children's books from the same era, so that may have been 'in the air'. This story has a remarkably cosy feeling to it and I enjoyed it very much considering nothing much happens.
Amanda Emerson
The children and I were absolutely captivated by this book that I read aloud. Jonathan and his family live at the bottom of Hemlock Mountain. One day his mother asks him to climb over the mountain to borrow a pot from his aunt who lives on the other side of the mountain. This book deals with a child's fears and the courage that it takes to overcome them. We enjoyed this book so much that I will be looking to add it to our home library in the future.
Janine Weston
Dec 30, 2009 Janine Weston rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natalie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2014 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elijah Libert
Apr 26, 2016 Elijah Libert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a four star book because it was kind of good, but it wasn't that good that the kid did not obey his mom and got all fat and wen to his aunt's house and got the thing when it was like 10 o'clock at night.
Dec 08, 2015 Congetta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, childrens, son
I thought it was ok. My son liked it. The purpose was for reading aloud and to increase his reading fluency. It met the purpose, but the story was a little simple for me. I rate it a two and he rated it a three.
Jun 01, 2012 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 11-12, honey
I picked this book up on audio when I was looking for something short. I remembered seeing this on one of my "good books for kids" reading lists and figured it was a Newberry Honor book so it would be a safe bet. What I failed to realize was that the target audience of this book is beginning chapter book readers. So although the story was pleasant enough it didn't really seem fleshed out or in depth enough for 64 pages. The author states it is a small tall tale and I think as such it may have be ...more
May 19, 2015 Bree rated it liked it
both my children liked it but it wasn't anything special; the illustrations are really unique; written as an early reader's chapter book so it's a bit baby-ish in parts
Nov 30, 2013 Vivian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Like 'Little Red Riding Hood', Jonathan must make a delivery but his journey takes him through the woods. All the while he chants encouragement to himself "There are NO bears". He stays too long at his destination and finds he must trudge home AFTER DARK. Suppose there ARE bears after all?

A very quick read with just the right amount of tension for readers just venturing into chapter books past the "easy reader" stage. The protagonist employs some quick thinking. Still, it is puzzling how this sl
Apr 18, 2016 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very age appropriate for my 4,6,and 7 year olds. The author wrote in a way that helps children remember many of the main points of the story with repetition. A classic story about the adventure that awaited a young boy on his own in the wilderness. My kids enjoyed it.
Fiction State Of Mind
This was an interesting little tale about a boys adventures during a winter storm. While on a mission for his mother the boy is trapped under a giant pot as he has his long imagined encounter with some bears. Very atmospheric, but I was a little sad for one of the bears.
Nov 01, 2014 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What surprised me about this book is that he hides under a pot to hide from the bears! I liked that they live on a farm
It is okay. Nothing deep nor poetic.
I believe it is more helpful for children to enhance their reading out loud ability.
My kids read this in one day and said they "enjoyed it more than most of the books we usually read".
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Family: Born in Trinidad, British West Indies; naturalized U.S. citizen; died in Woodbury, CT; daughter of John and Alice (Haynes) Dalgliesh.

Educator, editor, book reviewer, and author, Dalgliesh was an elementary school teacher for nearly seventeen years, and later taught a course in children's literature at Columbia University. From 1934 to 1960 she served as children's book editor for Charles
More about Alice Dalgliesh...

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