Bear Has a Story to Tell

Common Sense Media says

Gentle story of friendship, patience, and storytelling.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn that bears hibernate for the winter and how a few other animals prepare for the season. 

Positive messages

Sometimes you need to be patient, and your friends can help you create a story if you forget the one you were going to tell. 

Positive role models

All the animals are diligent in their winter preparations and kind and polite to Bear, even when saying no, you must wait until I'm not too busy to listen (sound familiar, parents?). 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bear Has a Story to Tell is a gentle, innocent picture book by the team that created A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which won the 2011 Caldecott Medal. It shows a bear trying to tell each of his animal friends a story before he goes to sleep for the winter, but they're all too busy with their own preparations to listen. He has to wait the whole winter; then, when he awakes from hibernation, he's forgotten what he was going to say. But his friends kindly prompt him to create a story starring all of them. He begins with the line that starts the book: "It was almost winter, and Bear was getting sleepy."

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What's the story?

As winter approaches, Bear is getting sleepy. Before he beds down for the winter, he has a story he wants to tell his friends. But each friend -- Mouse, Duck, Frog, Mole -- is busy getting ready for winter, too, and is too busy to hear Bear's story. He must wait until spring. When he awakes, he's excited to finally get to tell his story; he gathers his friends around, but finds he's forgotten what he wanted to say. His friends offer their suggestions, which reflect all their individual preparations for winter.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL is a gentle story that's perfect for reading aloud and perfect for bedtime. Its messages about patience and friendship shine through spare, realistic watercolor-and-pencil illustrations that capture animals in their habitats, fall leaves, and the wonder of a cool winter sky as the first snowflakes begin to fall.

Bear looks sleepy and melancholy for the first half of the book, then subtly happy as he rejoins his friends in spring. There's lots to talk about with kids, from animal hibernation to the joy of collaborating on a story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how fun it is to make up stories and share them with friends and family. Have you ever made up a story where the characters were your friends in real life?

  • If you read the other book by this author-illustrator team, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, how do you think Bear Has a Story to Tell compares? 

  • What other animals besides bears hibernate for the winter? 

Book details

Author:Philip C. Stead
Illustrator:Erin E. Stead
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:September 4, 2012
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Available on:Hardback

This review of Bear Has a Story to Tell was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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