A Birthday for Bear
by Bonnie Becker
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Centon.
Bear stubbornly resists his friend, Mouse’s attempts to celebrate Bear’s own birthday. He would rather clean house than have a party or get balloons or even get birthday cards. Mouse tries all sorts of disguises to deliver birthday goodies to Bear but, no matter how clever he is, Mouse never fools Bear. Bear always turns Mouse down until Mouse slips a yummy chocolate cake with gooey pink frosting on his front porch. Not only is Bear tempted with cake, he’s curious about the present Mouse brings him.
Bear is a rather adult character who would rather forget birthdays. Bear is a straight-laced character in the Frog and Toad tradition. Mouse is the perennial child who never gives up. Readers will identify with him and his love of birthdays. Bear finally comes around and finds his inner youth when he opens his present: a pair of shiny red roller skates. Even an unlikely story problem has a satisfying conclusion.
The author loves onomatopoeia. Every chapter includes words like swish, whisk, slosh, crinkle and, my favorite, squidjedy. An extension activity could be to make a reading list of the sound words, opening a discussion for how the word can sound like what it describes. This book lends itself to reader’s theatre, suitable for solid second-grade readers to read aloud. Everyone can make cards with personal “persuasive” birthday greetings to convince a grumpy Bear to celebrate his special day.
Read other Bear and Mouse stories: