When a little bear cub stumbles upon a plate of cookies and a teddy bear sitting in the middle of the woods, he thinks the stuffed animal is the owner of the sweet treats. "I'll eat the cookies for you," he promises. Little does he know that someone else is calling the shots. In order to get at those cookies, Cub will have to follow some Tea Party Rules.
A girl shows up and quickly notices a difference about her bear companion. "You're grubby. Tea Party Rule: you must be clean." Hopefully Cub likes baths as much as he likes cookies, but I doubt it.
"By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you."
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich follows one curious creature's romp through the big city, which he interprets as the strangest and most surprising forest he has ever been in.
Bears have much in common with people. We're both mammals. We're both omnivores. We are protective of our young. Also, if a bear happens to lose something very important, they will search for it. Especially if that something is their hat.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen is a clear-cut observation of a bear in his natural habitat, asking other animals if they have seen his missing prized possession.
What that description did not tell you is how unbelievably charming and oddball Klassen has made this story. Bear, standing upright, interrogates a different animal. Nearly every conversation is alike. No one has seen his hat and bear retorts, "OK. Thank you anyway." before he goes on to the next creature. The whole thing reads like a classic comedy bit.
Our family - with kids ages 3, 6, 9, and 11 - all love the "Bear books" written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. The first one, Bear Snores On, is the story of Bear, slumbering at the end of winter, and his woodland friends gathering in anticipation of his awakening. The artwork is wonderful and the text is lyrical, with wonderful repetition that the kids pick up on right away.
There are six Bear books currently. Here are the additional five titles, with lots of copies available for checking out at the library: