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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,110 ratings  ·  70 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
(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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Janine Weston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
My kids read this in one day and said they "enjoyed it more than most of the books we usually read".
Summer Turner
Simple, quaint story. A young boy is asked to run an errand for his mother and walk over Hemlock Mountain alone. He does it, worried the whole time about the potential threat of bears. It was a quick read, but it really caught the attention of my seven year old, to whom I was reading it.
Easy reader with short chapters, short read. I like Dalgliesh's work.
A. Matschull
This book would be great for a young child. The back summary is the entire book shortened.
The bears didn't deserve what they got. :(
Anastasia Tuckness
This book is a retelling of a folk tale in which a boy goes over the mountain (alone!) to borrow a black pot from his aunt. The tension, as one might guess, comes from speculating whether there are "bears on hemlock mountain!" It would be great as a short read-aloud in a family or even to just tell as a story. Young readers will have success with this book. Currently APL owns the version with the cover shown here; it was donated to the library in 2-17-1976, which makes it older than I am and ver ...more
Scott Williams
Good Early Chapter Book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An amiable story to which any young boy like Jonathon could relate. The imagery was very visual as Jonathon trudged his way up Hemlock "Mountain", his imagination running wild with the possibility of bears hovering around. I liked how both Jonathon and his mother recited the same little chant to themselves, though they were apart, about there not being any bears on Hemlock Mountain. A quick, enjoyable read, though by no means a true literary masterpiece. An interesting selection for a Newbery Ho ...more
Esther May
Since I have an eight year old right now, it is very interesting to read books about some of the things that eight year old boys used to do. I would never send my boy on a days long journey over a mountain on his own, but that is exactly what happened in this book. The boy was a little scared about the possibility of coming across a bear. Everyone told him that there are no bears on the mountain. When he comes across a bear, he finds out otherwise. A rather fun story to read.
1953 Newbery Honor Book

This is a very brief story about Jonathan and an iron pot. Jonathan is sent over Hemlock Mountain (which is just a big hill) to get the big iron pot from his aunt on the other side. He dilly dallies and ends up on the mountain after dark. Everyone says there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain but are there?
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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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