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Sunday, January 3, 2016

How To Share With A Bear, wirtten by Eric Pinder and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2015. $ 20.50 ages 3 and up

"Quick as he could,
Thomas got his
favorite books and
rushed back to the

Too late!

The bear was
already there. Caves
never stay empty ... "

It's one of those days when a self-constructed cave seems the best place for a quiet and prolonged read. So Thomas sets about creating the space he needs, with all the amenities that will make it perfect. Once completed to his satisfaction, he discovers it's too dark inside to read. Off he goes in search of a flashlight.

While gone, something big finds lodging in Thomas' cave. It has shy brown eyes ... a bear! Thomas employs all of his knowledge about bears to try and lead the interloper away from his warm den. A blueberry trail works temporarily. The bear is wily. While Thomas goes off to get books, the bear returns. A back scratcher, a sink full of toys, honey oat cereal and a bee costume should do the trick for attracting the bear away from Thomas' cave. Finally, Thomas has his cave to himself.

When the bear tries to get inside for a snuggle, there is no room. Only then do we realize who the bear is ... an inconsolable younger brother. Thomas shows his softer side when he pushes out the walls, causing a cave-in. What's the solution? Can they build a bigger cave together? Of course, they can!

"And Thomas learned that bears
like one thing even more than fish
or blueberries or honey.
They like their big brothers."

If your little ones aren't sure how to construct their own cave, they can ask my kids. They would fill the living room with blanket-covered play spaces day after day after day. Or, you can check out the final page of this charming book that shows them exactly how to do it. Ta-da!

A repeat reading offers several clues to the identity of the bear and a lot of detail to be shared and discussed. The soft colors, familiar setting and concealed identity keep little ones interested while not causing any distress ... straight through to the lovely ending.    

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