Written and Illustrated by Suzanne Bloom
Boyds Mills Press, 2014
Recommended by: Paul (Illinois)
Who is Paul? I’m a single bachelor in my 30s. I enjoy going to the movies and playing poker. I also dabble in acting.
How did you discover this book? I randomly picked it up in a bookstore or library.
What do you like about it? I really sympathized with the bear. He really just wanted some alone time, but I think peace and quiet worked just as well and was in a way superior to being alone. The bear could have been more insistent and gotten what he wanted, but it was apparent that he did care about the fox. It made it more inviting for the goose to join in.
The plot in a nutshell: Friends learn (a little) about being alone
When Fox sees Bear alone, she assumes that he wants some company. She asks him if he’s okay and Bear explains that he sometimes likes quiet time. Fox agrees, especially because quiet time is so good for humming, which she proceeds to do. She also twirls and makes whooshing noises. Bear asks her to be quiet and she settles down for a nap. At this point, Goose has gotten lonely and wants to join the other two friends. Bear says she can join if she’ll be quiet. Fox is delighted to see Goose, so they can all be alone together.
This book is the sixth in a series of books about these characters from author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom. Each book is broadly about friendship and often features an issue that can present a challenge to groups of friends. I like the way that this book approaches the subject of alone time. Whether Bear is just introverted or feeling introspective or has some other reason for wanting some time to himself isn’t explained and I’m glad, since you shouldn’t have to have a reason for wanting a little quiet moment now and then. His friends are supportive, but only as far as their gregarious natures allow them to be. And when they interrupt them, he chooses to allow them in, which shows a generosity of spirit.
The artwork is done in pastel, with every page featuring a snow-covered ground, a blue sky background and no other scenery. The text is minimal and the words are relatively small, making this a good choice for new readers. It’s a very gentle story, with a nice message about the nature of togetherness.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that alone doesn’t always mean lonely.