HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Author: Alice Dalgliesh
Illustrator: Helen Sewell
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, reissued in 1992
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8-10
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dalgliesh, Alice. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (published in 1952 and reissued in 2000 by Aladdin Books). Alice Dalgliesh (1893-1979) was an American author and book editor who wrote over forty books for children, most illustrated by Katherine Milhous. Born on the island of Trinidad, the daughter of a Scotsman and an Englishwoman, she traveled to America to attend the Pratt Institute becauseshe wanted to learn how to be a kindergarten teacher. Received a BA from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Teachers’ College at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, she began teaching a course in children’s literature at the same college while she taught at elementary schools for a while before writing her first book, A Happy School Year, in 1924. Eventually she became the children’s book editor for Charles Scribner and Sons. Among her books are Newbery Honor books The Silver Pencil (1944), The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (1952), and The Courage of Sarah Noble (1954).
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (1952), written by Alice Dalgliesh and illustrated by Helen Sewell, is children’s novella based, according to the author’s note, on an old Pennsylvania tall tale. A eight-year-old boy named Jonathan is sent on an errand over Hemlock Mountain and is not sure he likes going alone, because there may be bears on the mountain, but with the help of the big iron pot he borrows, he completes the errand. It won a 1953 Newbery Honor. Dalgliesh is a wonderful story teller for young children, and her historical fiction is cited for its accuracy and detail as well as her creation of believable characters and dramatic plots. She has written many other good books, such as The Fourth of July Story, and The Thanksgiving Story. Her nonfiction was praised by critics for its “casual” yet factual and detailed style.