About the Holiday
Originally founded in 1919 by the Hallmark Card company to encourage people to celebrate their friends by sending cards, the holiday has transitioned into a worldwide event commemorated in multiple ways from sending an emoji-filled text to getting together to share favorite activities. However you choose to celebrate, be sure to let your friends know how much they mean to you!
Bloomsbury Children’s Books sent me a copy of Bear’s Scare to check out. All opinions are my own. I’m excited to be partnering with Bloomsbury in a giveaway of a copy of Bear’s Scare. See details below.
By Jacob Grant
Bear was very tidy. Every day, he swept and dusted and took great care to make sure everything was put in its proper place. “There was one thing Bear loved to care for most of all. A small stuffed friend, named Ursa.” Bear and Ursa spent every minute of every day together, and each day they cleaned their house top to bottom.
One day, Bear discovered a book lying on the floor. He was sure he hadn’t left it there, and when he picked it up, he found a sticky spider’s web attached to it. He was sure that the spider was making his neat house sticky and messy and that the spider was nothing like them at all. He looked the house over more carefully, and “the more he searched, the more messy webs he found. ‘Ursa, we have a spider problem,’ said Bear.”
As the spider knitted a scarf using two legs while pouring tea using two more and then painted a picture of one of Bear’s potted flowers, Bear fretted over the mess the spider was making. He was determined to find the spider. Bear and Ursa searched everywhere but did not find it. Bear even lifted up the sofa to peer underneath. When he lowered the sofa to the floor again, however, Bear did not see that Ursa’s arm became pinned under its leg.
When Bear picked up Ursa, her arm ripped off. “Bear lay there for some time,” sad about what had happened to Ursa and about the mess he’d made. Then he ran to get supplies to “help his friend.” When he got back, though, the spider had already reattached Ursa’s arm with its sturdy web. Bear hugged Ursa tight.
Then, “among the books, Bear found something he never expected.” The bookshelf the spider called home was just as neat as Bear’s house. There were books, and a broom, and even a painting of Bear. “‘I certainly do not mind sharing my home with one more friend,’” Bear said. And Bear and Ursa were content—even when one new friend turned into many.
For those who embrace the status quo and like things just so, Jacob Grant’s sweet story demonstrates that there’s always room for one—or many—more. While Bear initially thinks the spider is not like him and Ursa, his quiet appreciation for spider’s help as well as his realization that he and the spider do share many of the same attributes models the kind of thoughtful inclusion that builds strong friendships.
Grant’s endearing illustrations show Bear’s love for Ursa as he cradles the little stuffed bear while reading to her, carries her from room to room, appolgizes for the accident, and hugs her when she is fixed. The little round spider who sports a button with a loop of thread for a hat is adorable as it goes about its artistic pursuits. The final double-page spread of the spider lounging in a web hammock attached to Bear’s reading chair while fourteen other spiders play, work, and listen to Bear read to Ursa is heartwarming. Kids will love finding the little spider on each page as well as all the ways in which the spider’s shelf is similar to Bear’s house.
A touching tribute to friendship—old and new—as well as a thoughtful contemplation on preconceived notions for young readers, Bear’s Scare is a delightful book to share at home and in the classroom.
Ages 3 – 6
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018 | ISBN 978-1681197203
Discover more about Jacob Grant, his books and his art on his website.
Get caught up in the Bear’s Scare book trailer!
National Friendship Day Activity
Friendly Storytelling Bear Craft
Bear loved to read stories with Ursa and the spider! Now you can tell your own stories with this Friendly Storytelling Bear Craft! Use the templates and/or make your own expressions to make up great stories! You can also play a game to collect all the parts of the bears face to win.
- Printable Bear Head Template
- Printable Eyes and Noses Template
- Printable Eyebrows and Ears Template
- Light brown felt or fleece (or color of your choice), 8 ½ x 11 inch piece
- Dark brown felt or fleece(or color of your choice), 8 ½ x 11 inch piece
- White felt or fleece, 8 ½ x 11 inch piece
- Black felt or fleece, for pupils
- 1 playing die (optional)
- Print templates
- Cut bear head from light felt or fleece
- Cut eyes from white felt or fleece
- Cut nose and inner ears from dark brown felt or fleece
- Cut pupils from black felt or fleece
- Glue pupils onto white eyes
Alternately: Color and play with the paper set
For a Fun Story Time
Give the bear different faces and make up stories of why he looks that way!
To Play a Game
Roll the die to collect parts of the bear’s face. The first player to create a full face is the winner.
- Die dots correspond to:
- 1—one eyebrow
- 2—second eyebrow
- 3—one eye
- 4—second eye
- 6—inner ears
You can find Bear’s Scare at these booksellers
Picture Book Review