Written by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012
All alone in his cave, Bear listens to the wind.
The plot in a nutshell: A bear appreciates his friends.
Bear is bored and he thinks about having a dinner party with his friends, but he realizes he has no food. Then Mouse shows up with a huckleberry pie and Hare brings a basket of muffins. Badger comes over with freshly caught fish and Gopher and Mole bring warm honey nuts. Owl, Raven and Wren fly in with pears and herbs for tea. Bear is overwhelmed and feels bad that he has nothing to share with them, but they tell him he can share stories and he thanks all of them. They have a wonderful meal with good conversation and at the end of it, they are all thankful.
I love Karma Wilson’s Bear books. Bear is such a lovable character and he’s surrounded by wonderful friends. Ms. Wilson’s rhyme scheme for these books is original and enjoyable to read, with the title line repeated as a type of chorus. This one tells a story of gratitude and sharing and would be a perfect book to read today for Thanksgiving. Bear’s friends are so happy to bring contributions to the feast and there is a real sense of joy and excitement among them all.
Jane Chapman’s acrylic artwork uses warm autumn colors to give Bear’s home a warm and cozy atmosphere. Bear and all of his friends are drawn with kind faces and furry bodies that make you want to reach into the picture to feel how soft they are (because you just know they’re amazingly soft). I love that Bear’s friends don’t dismiss his concerns about having nothing to share, and instead reassure him that he can contribute in a different way. It’s very inclusive and thoughtful. We would all be very lucky to have friends like these.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that sometimes you share with others and sometimes they share with you. As long as everyone’s happy and appreciative, no one is keeping score.
Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!