by Ryan O’Connor
In this delightful Christmas story, readers discover that Bobby the Bear enjoys Christmas more than any other time of year. His favorite tradition is his annual party for all his forest friends. After decorating his cave for their yearly soiree, he heads to the forest to gather supplies for his friends’ special presents. Bobby meets Danny the Dear, who has recently moved to Bobby’s forest, and invites him to his Christmas party. When Bobby returns to his cave, he constructs ornaments for each of his friends, including his new friend, Danny. Using his friends’ initials, Bobby makes ornaments from twigs. Everyone is excited to meet Danny, but when they discover he doesn’t celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts, they are shocked and don’t believe they can befriend one so different. Bobby the Bear and his friends soon learn a valuable lesson about how to embrace differences in others.
This story offers a number of learning experiences for young readers. For example, the gifts that Bobby makes for his friends provide a ready-made lesson on the alphabet, which can be expanded by having children identify the initials of their own friends’ names and making their own initial ornaments as gifts. The text might also inspire parents to discuss those who may be different and how to accept those differences with young children. Ideas such as finding common ground could easily be included in the discussion. Even the youngest of children will find much to like in this story as they enjoy the book’s wonderful, unique illustrations by the talented Xiang Manke and the variety of forest animals included in the text. For those searching for a new holiday tradition, the reading of O’Connor’s Christmas tale is a great option.
Review Link – Merry Christmas, Bobby the Bear!