Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book #287: A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

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All Bear wants to do is enjoy his tea all by himself in his cozy cottage. Then Mouse shows up at the door, “small and gray and bright-eyed.” Bear points at the “No visitors allowed” sign and closes the door. But Mouse won’t give up and as Bear puts together his tea he finds Mouse hiding all over the kitchen. Each time he banishes Mouse, locking the door and boarding up the windows, the small creature somehow makes his way back into the cabinets, the fridge, and even the tea pot. Defeated, Bear gives in and allows Mouse to stay for tea, but that’s all. Eventually, Bear learns that a visit from a friend can be a wonderful thing.

Becker’s text, written in third person present tense, is evenly split between description and dialogue. She uses the same phrase each time the clever mouse appears, “small and gray and bright-eyed.” This repetition helps kids follow the story with ease. The watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations depict a quaint rural cottage with soft blues, foresty greens, and well-worn browns. The facial expressions and body language create a wonderful dynamic between the two characters, as Bear struggles to keep his composure and Mouse works his charms.

Pair this book with The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear for a bear and mouse themed storytime.

Go with an all bear storytime and use books like, I Want My Hat Back, Bear’s Picture, Jamberry, Orange Pear Apple Bear, Maybe a Bear Ate It or More Bears! Fun and easy crafts include making circle bears or B bears.

Alternatively use this book for a mouse storytime with books such as, Anatole, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears or Under the Hood. Mice crafts include M Mice (a nice compliment to B Bears) and mice straws, especially fun if you have a Bear and Mouse tea.

This is a great story about friendship (try pairing it with A Splendid Friend, Indeed) and could easily be used to start a conversation on the benefits of friendship. Have kids talk/write about things they like to do with their friends and follow up with a friendship craft, such as pony bead friendship bracelets.

If your kids like this book, check out Becker and Denton’s other Mouse and Bear Books.


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