Thursday 21 February 2013

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-342-8
Reviewed by Ann Harth ( )

It’s almost winter and Bear is getting sleepy. Before he curls up for the season, he has a story to tell. He asks his friends if they will listen but they are caught up in a necessary whirlwind of chores and responsibility. Mouse has to gather seeds, Duck has to fly south, Frog has to find a place to sleep and Mole has already dropped off to sleep. Bear helps his friends with their tasks and tucks himself into his cave for the winter.

The days grow longer and warmer and the animals wake up. They are ready to listen to Bear’s story now, but Bear surprises them all, including himself.  He cannot remember his story. His friends help him begin a new story which brings this beautiful picture book full circle creating a gratifying ending.

Bear Has a Story to Tell will appeal to children aged 3-6 but adults will also love the language and simple structure of this story. It is a pleasure to read aloud. This book is a gentle story of friendship and patience as Bear puts his friends’ needs before his own. It also highlights the desire many of us have to tell our own stories.

Erin E. Stead’s subtle water colour illustrations add warmth and realism to the characters in this book. They are set against a natural backdrop infused with muted colour creating a calm, soothing effect.

Husband and wife team, Philip C. and Erin E. Stead are winners of the 2011 Caldecott Medal for their picture book, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. After winning such a prestigious award, they got straight back to work and created three more books in 2012 including Bear Has a Story to Tell. They each have a new book planned for this year. For more information on Erin E. Stead please visit To read about Philip C. Stead, an illustrator in his own right, his website is

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is available from Amazon.

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