Bear finds a box that he cannot wait to share with his best friend, Mouse. On his way to Mouse, he meets other friends – a Monkey, an Owl, a Fox, an Elephant, a Squirrel and a Bunny – who criticize Bear’s gift as being too small, too ordinary, or even a better gift for someone else. Dejected, Bear is unsure whether or not his gift is worth giving, until Mouse shows him that friendship is all about gratitude. Preschoolers will appreciate this simple book on friendship and gratitude, and the joy that even the simplest gifts can bring to another. The font is a spare, typewriter-like print, and the pastel watercolor artwork, outlined with strong black lines, bring simplicity to a story that may diverge from more brightly colored books, but will stand out because of it.
This would be a great addition to a storytime on friendship and gratitude. There is the potential for a wonderful discussion about friends and giving – Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree would be a great companion story to this book – and the importance of saying “thank you”. Friendship is a popular storytime theme, with many songs available on children’s CDs. DLTK’s website has a friendship wreath craft made with traced handprints that can be prepared in advance and ready for attendees to assemble with help from their parents/guardians.
The author’s website has downloadable designs for Bear stationery and computer wallpaper, in addition to links to other books. Mr. Foley’s “Bear” series includes Make a Wish Bear; I Miss You Mouse; Good Luck Bear and Don’t Worry Bear, which also features his friend, Mouse.
The book received the Charlotte Zolotow Award in 2008 and was a nominee for Iowa’s Goldfinch Book Award (2011).