Bear Has a Story to Tell

Philip Christian Stead, Author, Erin Stead, Illustrator
Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-745-6
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84939-518-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-57035-0
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Big, furry bears abound in children’s books, but Erin Stead’s is especially soulful. It might be the way his eyebrows furrow with concern, or the way he leans forward to hear what his friends are saying. Bear wants to tell a story, but his friends Mouse, Duck, Frog, and Mole are busy preparing for winter. (Mole is already asleep, in a den so deep the book has to be turned sideways to view it.) Instead, Bear offers help to his friends. Helpfulness in picture books can teach a moral lesson or it can let readers imagine luxuriating in that tender care themselves. This collaboration, which follows the Steads’ Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee, is of the second sort. Bear raises a great paw to check the wind for Duck and tucks Frog tenderly into his hole. When winter passes, the animals are reunited, but Bear has forgotten his story; now it’s his friends’ turn to help him. The quiet suggestion that no one has all the answers is just one of the many pleasures the Steads give readers. Ages 2–6. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)
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