The Mystery Bear

ISBN 0-618-33725-5


Little Bear is hungry. It doesn’t matter to him that the people at the party are wearing funny costumes and making lots of noise, as long as he can help himself to fruit and honey and hamantaschen. And it doesn’t matter to the happy revelers at the Purim celebration that they don’t recognize the short person in the bear suit. Is it Peschel the pickle seller? Heshel the herring man? Who cares as long as he joins in the fun!

The late Leone Adelson was the author of The Mystery Bear. Her lively story was fun to illustrate.

For The Mystery Bear, I took some of my inspiration from my children. Here is a picture of my daughter, Juliet and son, Sam when they were little. Juliet was dressed as Queen Esther for Purim and Sam was Queen Esther’s fireman. I especially liked Juliet’s crown and used a similar one in
my illustrations.

Here is a drawing that my other daughter, Susannah, made when she was a little girl. It is a picture
of Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus in his palace. I kept this up on my wall while I was making
The Mystery Bear.



“With a muted palette and folksy touches, Howland’s appealing gouache paintings perfectly capture the flavor of the Jewish festivities that signal the end of winter… Children will appreciate the fun of a family gathering with an uninvited and unexpected guest and will enjoy learning more about the holiday.”
—School Library Journal

“The gouache-and-watercolor pictures are clear and festive, evoking an old-fashioned shtetl setting with the universal family holiday uproar, and kids will relish the confusion of the make-believe and the real.”
—Booklist ALA