Bears move into cottage to spend the winter

Bears make themselves at home in a comfy cottage. They fish, enjoy evening fires, and even invite lots of other critters to join them.

OK, you’ve probably figured out I’m writing about a wonderful new children’s book. The illustrations in kids’ books today are amazing, and you will be delighted and entertained by Karel Hayes’ drawings in The Spring Visitors, published by Down East Books.

Karel is a watercolor artist and illustrator whose work has been displayed all over the country. She’s also illustrated 10 books. This is the 5th book in her Visitor’s series.

This family of bears hibernate in a waterfront cottage, and decide to stay when they wake up in the spring. My favorite illustration is one showing the cottage full of visitors, from moose to racoons and owls to foxes. It is magnificent!

As the cottage owners arrive that summer, the bears exit out the back door. But the owners enter to find their cottage full of rabbits, while the family of bears sit above the cottage on a stone outcropping, enjoying muffins and tea in cups taken from the cottage.

I can’t wait to share this book with my 4-year-old granddaughter, who loves to draw and who saw her first moose up to our north woods camp last summer. I guess this summer we’ll have to find her a bear!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.