I’m incredibly fond of Kind Mr. Bear by Steve Smallman, a tale of an incredibly helpful bear who spends his time always ready and available to offer assistance to his animal friends around the forest. Whenever one of his friends needs something, he is always nearby to provide them with whatever they require and quite happy to do so. As can sometimes be the case when someone is always there for you, the other animals in the forest find themselves taking Mr. Bear and his kindness for granted. And one day, Mr. Bear comes down with a cold.
There’s an interesting commentary to be had about entitlement within the story of the kind and helpful Mr. Bear and all his animal friends. Those who have always had help come to expect it and are both surprised and angry when they notice its absence. It is truly a brilliant message for young children to learn they should not take others for granted or be ungrateful. And as Mr. Bear spends every moment he can assisting those he cares for, it is immeasurably important for them to be introduced to the concept that those people deserve gratitude and sometimes help as well.
As the animals learn of Mr. Bear’s cold, they come to the significant realization that those who help sometimes also need help themselves. A brilliant story with a wonderful message and exceptionally beautiful illustrations–there was a fox!!–Kind Mr. Bear is a beautiful and heartwarming tale that you don’t want to pass up!
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.