Some of the loveliest picture books deal with some of the most delicate subjects, and Bear and Bird by James Skofield is a perfect example.
In Bear and Bird, a humongous bear wandering through the woods happens upon a tiny baby bird just learning to fly. Bear could crush Bird, but instead uses her big paw to lift Bird back onto the tree branch.
From then on, the two are fast friends and spend their entire summer searching for berries and frolicking together. When summer ends, Bird flies south for the winter and Bear goes into hibernation, but they dream of the time they’ll be together again.
When spring comes, Bird returns and she and Bear frolic through the woods again.
But one late summer when it is time to fly south again, Bird notices that Bear’s paws are quivering. They have been friends for many summers and they are much older, but Bird sees no evidence that things are changing. She flies off, fully expecting to see her friend next Spring.
Bear and Bird is a lovely book about unlikely friendships and memories that last a lifetime. Through its simple pages, children learn that friendships can come from the unlikeliest of places — even from people (or in this case, animals) that are nothing alike.
They also learn that as we get older, life usually takes us down our own road and away from our closest friends or family. That’s why it’s important to make beautiful memories while we can.
This book is an excellent early elementary resource for discussions on friendships, separation, grieving, and the concept that “life goes on.” It is an excellent choice for hospitals, doctors’ offices, and even a quiet home library.
Best wishes and happy friendships,