This gentle, touching story of the death of a dear friend, Bear, introduces children to the complex and often confusing feelings of grief, and the ways that Bear’s friends honor his memory as they learn how to cope with the loss.
„Bear died on a Friday, while sunlight speckled the grass and caterpillars nibbled leaves in the forest.“ Beaver and Mole, two of Bear’s friends, return some of bear’s belongings to his tree house, not quite understanding why their friend is no longer with them. The two cry together, sit quietly together, and feel angry together over the loss of their friend–but they gradually realize that Bear wouldn’t want them to be unhappy, so they decide to finish something that Bear had started.
PreS-Gr 3–Forest creatures mourn the loss of their friend, Bear, in this heartwarming story of grief for young children. Bear passes away on a beautiful and sunny day. Beaver and Mole are struggling to understand how their friend is gone and yet the forest keeps changing and others keep living. They cycle through the phases of grief as the seasons change as well, eventually finding a way to move on while keeping Bear’s memory alive. Chapman’s gentle exploration of death and grief pairs exquisitely with her whimsical illustrations; she moves the characters through the stages of grief with natural progression. This will allow young readers who have experienced loss to have an emotional outlet. As the animals learn to live life without their friend, they discover healthy ways to deal with all the changes that arrive with loss. Translating these to real life will be useful for children and their caregivers. VERDICT A well-paced and gentle exploration of the death and grieving of a loved one; a must for counseling libraries and other collections on death.–Brittany McMahon
– School Library Journal
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