All artwork and studies Copyright Olivier Dunrea 2012

11 November 2010
School Library Journal, September 2012
Little Cub and Old Bear are back in a tale that is part prequel, part adoption story, and all heart.   Little Cub is sad and lonely. He has no one to take care of him, teach him how to catch fish, help him get honey, and be with him during the long dark nights. Old Bear is sad and lonely.   He has no one to teach, share his food with, and keep him company during the long dark nights. One day he finds Little Cub whimpering and along.  "'Who do you belong to?' asked Old Bear/'I belong to me...But maybe I could belong to you.'"  And of course Old Bear names him, takes him home, feeds him, puts him to bed, tells him a story, and the rest is history.   The charming pencil and gouache illustrations capture the very essence of bears, while still rendering them sweet and appealing.   The backgrounds are stark white with detailed, realistic trees, rocks, grasses, bees, and more.   The patterned text, with alternating pages describing the cub's concerns, followed by the related concerns of Old Bear, works beautifully.  The wording is descriptive, economical, and deceptively simple. Dunrea packs a huge amount of emotion into his limited text and engaging art.  A delight for fans of these characters and a lovely next step for children ready to move beyond the "Gossie and Friends" series (Houghton Harcourt).---Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
27 November 2012
Here is a short video that shows how I created the artwork for LITTLE CUB (as well as 
OLD BEAR AND HIS CUB and my other books).  I hope you enjoy the video!
Old Bear and Little Cub update:   Two new books in the series are now in the works:  A BED FOR LITTLE CUB and LITTLE CUB AND THE FIREFLIES!   I am excited to be adding two new books that will allow readers to get to know these two loving characters better.

Here are a few studies and layouts for the next book in the Old Bear and Little Cub series.   With each book I hope to show the reader a more in-depth glimpse into the life of Old Bear and Little Cub.  Notice that books are a big part of their life together. The chair that Old Bear is sitting in is based on a traditional straw-back chair that are made in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. 
As I work on the sketches I often make quite a few changes even as I'm working on the finished illustration.  The oil lamp wasn't right for the bed sequence in the book so I changed it to a candle.  It works much better.  The sequence comprises five pages and as time passes the candle burns shorter. These kind of details are never missed by young children who are the most observant readers I've ever come across.