Bear Has a Story to Tell
Bear Has a Story to Tell
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Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead
ISBN 9781596437456
Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan , 2012.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: animals bear-has-a-story-to-tell friendship philip-stead seasons stories

Bear Has a Story to Tell
by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead

The Caldecott Medal–winning creators of A Sick Day for Amos McGee present another inspiring tale of friendship and collaboration.

"It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy." Against a spare white background where birch tree trunks and golden-leaved maples stretch off the top of the page, the ursine hero walks with a mission: "Bear had a story to tell." One by one, the fellow asks his friends if they want to hear his tale. "I am sorry, Bear," says Mouse, "but it is almost winter and I have many seeds to gather." Bear helps Mouse gather seeds. He helps Duck find a Southerly wind, and digs a "frog-size hole" in which to tuck Frog safely for the winter. As Bear calls down Mole's hole, readers must turn the book to appreciate the depths of Mole's tunneling. At the bottom, Mole is already asleep. Erin Stead renders the first snowfall as a vision in cornflower blue and violet with white (and a few yellow) circles dotting the sky. Bear's skyward look of wonder mirrors our own, and on the next page Bear himself is sound asleep.

With the first signs of spring, Bear rolls in the sunshine under a sky of teal green. As he welcomes his friends back, he gives each a gift. And they, in turn, give Bear a gift. Erin Stead's (And Then It's Spring) visual clues to the cycles of the seasons echo Philip Stead's lilting circular construction of the narrative. Together they celebrate the ebb and flow of friendship, and its endless gifts.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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