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The Bears On Hemlock Mountain

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,130 ratings  ·  167 reviews
"There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain, No bears, no bears at all..."

Or so young Jonathan is told by the grown-ups as he sets out alone over Hemlock Mountain. But as Jonathan discovers on that cold winter night, grown-ups don't always know...

And there are bears on Hemlock Mountain!

Paperback, 64 pages
Published 1973 by Puffin Books (first published July 1st 1952)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,130 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Now while I certainly have very much enjoyed Alice Dalgliesh' 1953 Newbery Honour winning The Bears on Hemlock Mountain theme and content wise and do greatly appreciate the slice of pioneer American life presented and depicted, I am nevertheless and sadly left rather majorly cold and unsatisfied with and by the author' writng style, by her ways and means of describing young Jonathan's experiences encountering bona fide bears on Hemlock Mountain (which I think are supposed to feel and read as an ...more
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
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oops, read another upcoming Newbery before its time. Oh well; this is not much longer than a picture-book, profusely illustrated, and ever so charming. Even the design is important - I hope the editions with the modern cover at least have the same interior setup. This could even, imo, have qualified for a Caldecott. I look forward to rereading it with the group.
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
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This doesn't have great reviews, but I thought it was great and Asher really enjoyed it too. I admit I have a penchant for old-fashioned kids' books that I'm attempting to pass down to my kids. Maybe that's why we liked it, but it was also a simple, sweet story with just the right amount of scary for early readers (or listeners, in our case).
Jt N
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute book! My kids still start chanting, “There are no bears on hemlock mountain, no bears no bears at all...”

It was a quick, fun read a loud to start out homeschool year.
The song sparrow says:
Put on the kettle, kettle, kettle over, and over again.

That's one of the things I like about a well-written books for kids -- I always learn something.

Unlike many Newbery titles, especially the newer ones, this is a story for young children. I like the 8-year-old boy's interest in wildlife, and I suppose that (view spoiler) but I would have preferred a different ending.
Mortisha Cassavetes
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
I just loved this story. It follows a little boy named Jonathan that is asked by his Mother to go down Hemlock Mountain to get a large cooking pot from his Aunt. Are there bears on Hemlock Mountain? You must read to find out! I highly recommend this to kids of all ages.
Phil Jensen
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great, early chapter book. It's just slightly more challenging than Frog and Toad Are Friends. The story is about a kid walking over a snowy hill and hoping that he won't see any bears. Adventure ensues.

This book is made to be read aloud. I got a kick out of Helen Selwell's illustrations and Dalgliesh's use of music and rhythm.

I feel like the publishing industry doesn't put the same thought and care into early chapter books that they used to. So instead of treasures like The Light at Tern Rock
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
Nov 21, 2008 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
Cynthia Egbert
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
As I continue to cross off a variety of lists that have been on my to-read list for a long time. This one is a Newbery Award that I thought I had not yet read. I was wrong, I actually remember reading it as a child and loving it. Being a mountain gal, I laugh at the description of Hemlock "Mountain" but it sets the stage well for a cute story.
Kalaam Juarez
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked how descriptive this book was. It was a nice short story.
Shanna Gonzalez
Nov 09, 2009 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
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
3.5 stars

I really, really liked this short and cute little chapter book right up until the very end.

The end felt so out of character with the rest of the book. Most of the book is spent with Jonathan, the 8 year old boy who makes his first trip over the mountain. He brings snacks for different kinds of wildlife he might meet and on the way back...
(view spoiler)
So did the parents just not want to admit to themselves that there were bears that could possibly eat their son? And all because Mom needed a giant stew pot. "I hope the stew was good, Mom. I just risked my 8 year old life for it."
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Booktubeathon #6.... love the illustrations! Really adds to the story.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

"There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain." This is the mantra Jonathan uses to comfort himself on the long and lonely journey over the mountain to borrow his aunt's large iron pot. When he stays too long at his aunt's house and ventures home in the dark, however, it becomes clear that there are bears on Hemlock Mountain - and Jonathan must outsmart them if he's to make it home safe and sound!

It is surprising to me how many reviewers on Goodrea
Jacklyn (ReadingBliss)
I pick books up like these because they are considered award winning (or nominated) literature and because I think it important to explore the reading world, even the parts that might not initially interest me. Peeking through a window to see the past of what is claimed as good examples of ordinary families back in their time, I thought this one was lacking in principle. Call me modern, but without a defining moral to make this story stand out to leave a strong, good impression, it was just abou ...more
Apr 16, 2009 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.
Listened to this book -- truly a timeless tale of courage -- although I'm not sure that many children of today could relate! I do plan to share it with my granddaughter when she's old enough to understand, but probably won't be recommending it in the library anytime soon!
Lilac Mohr
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-alouds
I read this book aloud to the kids (ages 5 & 7) in one sitting. The story is a lot of fun and the kids were engaged the whole time. I especially love the references to nature. By the end of the book, we were all chanting "There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain. No bears at all!"
Ms. B
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An early chapter book for young readers about an eight-year-old boy who travels over a mountain to borrow a huge iron kettle from his aunt. A 1953 Newberry Honor, this could work as a read aloud to introduce The Newberry Awards or give to fans of Lynd Ward's The Biggest Bear.
Kate Schwarz
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, early-reader
Newbery Honor, 1952.

Cute story of a young boy doing a grown-up errand: going across a mountain to fetch a pot from his aunt got his mother. The suspense around the question: are there bears on Hemlock Mountain? is well done and the unfolding answer is a little funny and a lot satisfying.
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute, but nothing special. I liked the easy-to-read format and this would be a great beginning reader for kids interested in westerns or pioneer stories.
Chloe Seo
As the boy went through the woods, it grew more and more interesting.
Kat Capocasale
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I ever read by myself!
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic and a fun to read book that I remembered form my childhoood. The repetitive phrase- There are no Bears on Hemlock Mountain-is throughout this short book. You venture up a mountain with a young boy who is sent to get a large cooking pot for a large family get together. The boy loves small animals and brings them tidbits to enjoy as he realizes the winter weather makes foraging difficualt for the rabbits, squirrels and others. He delays at the home of his aunt as he sits and eats ...more
One of E's read-alouds. With ten short chapters, I planned on taking 5 days to read it... we finished in two.

It's a lovely little book, with a sparse writing style, enough details to keep a five year old feeling like she's one step ahead of the main character, and just enough suspense to keep her asking for one more chapter.

I'll definitely be reading this one with her sisters in the next few weeks.
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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