The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  581 ratings  ·  54 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'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...more
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...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...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.
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
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...more
Janine Weston
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
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...more
A. Matschull
This book would be great for a young child. The back summary is the entire book shortened.
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
Good Early Chapter Book.
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.
Basically, this is just a reader with longer chapters. I was expecting something with more oomph, more style, and more plot--especially since this was a Newbery Honor (although, truth be told, I put very little faith in these award committees as I don't feel that they pick the best books). It seems like a fireside story someone would tell in a chapter of a Little House book or something--it's that short.

I'm rather bewildered by this.
Read this with my 7-year-old son tonight and we both liked it. Mark said it ought to have won a "medal or a trophy or something" so I think he'll be happy to learn that it won the Newbery in 1952. This simple story, based on a regional Pennsylvania tale, is nicely done with just the right amount of suspense for young readers. I enjoyed Dalgliesh's storytelling and the illustrations by Sewell are great.
spoiler alert

i enjoyed this book, a lot, until the final chapter. i don't like hunting or guns or teaching/telling kids that hunting is okay. in the final chapter a bear is stalked and killed.
my own morality won't let me reccommend this book, but for those who see hunting as necessary/useful/pleasurable and want children to be taught that, this would be a good read aloud.
This was a really scary book. I loved it! It looks like it was written for maybe 3rd graders. The little boy in the story is not afraid of bears and he has to go over the hill to get a pot from his aunt for his mom to make stew. He falls asleep after cookies and milk and then starts out late to get back home. Is there bears or not! Read it and find out!
This kid went on the mountain to get a pot from his aunt, and when he got it, his mom told him to get back. Bears were coming, so he hid under the pot. His dad and his uncles came looking for him, so the bears went away. The kid was hiding under the pot to act like a bear so he wouldn't get hurt. The uncle that he liked the best was Uncle James.
Nice children's book about a boy who had heard there were bears on the mountain by his house, longed to see the bears, and then did have an adventure confronting a bear on his errand crossing the mountain.
This is a simple story with a satisfying arc. This could work as independent reading for 2nd or 3rd graders. If done as a class read aloud, I imagine the class chanting along "There bears...on Hemlock Mountain!" Fun reading and well-crafted.
The stars are only given for the artwork. This book pretty much bombed. Super boring, unrealistic, will never get those teaching days back. In the vast library of kidlit I don't understand why our school assigned this one. Don't waste your time.
This book came highly recommended, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I read it with Grant, and it was a quick read, but we didn't really get anything out of it. We finished the story thinking, "What was the point?" Disappointment.
I read the reissued 1952 edition of this book. I really liked the printed illustrations and the clever, simple story. There is lots of room for discussion (responsibility, family, danger etc) so the story is still relevant to today's kids.
This book probably works great as an early-reader book for a kid who's just beginning to tackle chapter books. As a read-out-loud book, it was repetitive. But I have to say, it did build to a suspenseful climax.
Etta Mcquade
A perfect book for ages 6 to 10. How my children loved it when they were little. The repetition of "There are NO bears on Hemlock Mountain" add to the delight, along with the illustrations by Helen Sewell.
I read this to the boys during our camping trip in a hemlock forest in Western Maryland. It is a charming story and perfectly describes the personality of the average eight year old boy.
Although this book is short and easy to read, it's full of excitement and suspense. It's a great beginning chapter book for a child to read by himself, but it's also a fun read aloud.
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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
More about Alice Dalgliesh...
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