March Newspaper Book Review – Pete & Gabby: The Bears Go To Town

My March Upper Bucks Free Press Column was published yesterday! The column is about “Pete & Gabby: The Bears Go To Town” by Kay Winters! Ms. Winters is a local author and I reviewed her new book (“Pete & Gabby: The Bears Go To Town”) and did an interview with her to make my article for the newspaper. I hope you like it!

To see the original article click HERE and click on the March 2012 edition (page 14).

Here is a copy of it if you can’t get the link!

Pete & Gabby – The Bears Go to Town

By Kay Winters

Illustrated by Katherine Kirkland

64 pages – ages 5+

Published by Albert Whitman & Company 2012

Camping season is over and the park is pretty boring for two curious bear cubs. Pete and Gabby decide to visit town because that’s where the campers go. Read along to follow Pete and Gabby as they discover all kinds of fun places in town. From the post office to the ice cream store, the town has never seen visitors like this!

This is a great story! I like how Ms. Winters gives the two bears different personalities. I like Gabby because she seems to be the more adventurous bear because she convinces Pete to go to town. The illustrations in the book add a lot to the story and the bears are drawn very cute! I laughed out loud when Gabby yells “PEOPLE” in response to the towns-people yelling “BEARS”! The book is an excellent choice for kid just learning to read on their own and would make a great read aloud for parents.

Ms. Winters also let me interview her!

You live in Bucks County! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My husband Earl and I have lived in Bucks County for 45 years.  We live in an old stone farmhouse in Haycock township on the back of 10 acres. I began teaching, first at Lehigh University, then in the Palisades School District. I taught there for 29 years, and I loved it,  but all that time the dream of writing  children’s books did not go away. Now I have sixteen published books with two under contract.

How did you get the idea for “The Bears Go to Town”?

 Each Spring I read in the newspaper stories of bears invading Bucks County. One year I read how they stopped at restaurants and explored their garbage cans.  I thought that was a funny idea. Then three years ago, a black bear strolled across our lawn on the way to the blueberry patch next door. Pete and Gabby came to life in my head. I began to imagine what would happen if they went  to the Richlandtown post office or the Haycock firehouse or stopped at an ice cream store.

You are a former teacher. Did that help you when you decided to write for kids?

 Absolutely. I always wanted to write books for children. But it is very difficult to break into the field, and harder still to make a living by writing for children .  What I loved best about teaching was reading wonderful books to children and getting them excited about reading and writing. But I never gave up the dream of writing books for kids. I took early retirement in 1992 and began.

Your website says that you never liked history in school, but now you have written several books about history. What changed your mind?

When I went to school, history was taught as a series of dates and events. It never came to life or seemed real. When I began to explore the life of Abe Lincoln… I was caught up by his experiences. I saw how important books were to him and how they changed his life, and ours. And so I wrote Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books, (Simon and Schuster).

As far as Voices of Ancient Egypt, ( National Geographic) went, I had been to Egypt twice , as a consultant for the American International School, and I was fascinated by the culture. There are many books about the royalty in Egypt. I wanted to write about the ordinary people. It was great fun bringing them alive.  Voices of Colonial America:Hear them Speak , (Dutton) followed.

Do you have any projects you are working on now?

Yes, I am putting the final touches on Voices of the Oregon Trail, ( Dial)  a book that explores the hardships and triumphs of those  pioneers who walked two thousand miles,  forded rivers, climbed mountains to start a new life in the West.

I am working  on a sequel to the bears.  This one ,The Bears go to School, (Whitman) shows what happens when Gabby and Pete arrive at an elementary school and explore the gym, the art room, the nurses office, the second grade  and the cafeteria.  As you might suspect, that school will never be the same!

To learn more about Kay Winters and her books, please visit  www.kaywinters.com .



Categories: Age 6-9

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21 replies

  1. Great review — and great interview. Having the author interview adds so much, and this will give kids so many ideas of great things to read.

  2. Really nice interview, Erik. I want to meet Pete & Gabby, so I guess I’d better read that book. I love the idea of bears going to town.

  3. Funny, I just had a dream about camping and bears last night. (Can’t wait to break out the camping stuff!)

    Mrs. Winters sounds like a very interesting and talented person. Wonderful interview!

  4. Our local news just advised residents today to bring in birdfeeders as the bears are already arriving in town for crunchy treats!

    Great interview – I loved reading about this author’s work and I will definitely go look for Pete & Gabby! Right after I bring in my birdfeeders that is!

  5. Excellent interview Erik, and great review, this book sounds like a lot of fun. Will have to check it out. Good idea to do a follow up with Kay when the second Bears book comes out to… Thanks for sharing.

  6. A great interview. So many good books out there and you seem to find them!

  7. Erik, Congratulations! I have awarded you the Sunshine award. If you go to my blog on Tuesday, March 6, you will find out the details. 🙂

  8. Great interview. I love Kay Winters’ Teeny Tiny Ghosts books too!

  9. Great review and really enjoyed the interview! Thanks!

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