Author: Heinz Janisch
Illustrator: Silke Leffler
Published: 2007 (Austria) 2009 (US)
Source: Local Library
The bear has a problem. He goes around town, seeking help. He gets wings, a scarf, boots, pills, even a lucky charm, but none of these will fix his problem. What can?
Every child who has ever been ignored or frustrated will recognize this bear's plight. Everyone thinks they know what the bear needs, while not listening long enough to hear what his real problem is. In the end, the bear doesn't need anything but a friend.
On another level, this book is about consumerism and the modern desire for stuff to fill the gaps. Everyone the bear talks to wants to sell him something, from hats to honey. But his real problem--loneliness and fear of the dark--can only be solved by a friend. And of course, the friend, a modest little fly, is the first one who listens to the bear's problem all the way through, without interruptions.
It's on the long side for preschoolers, but it's perfect for a class or a parent/child read-together. This deceptively simple book could prompt discussions about the value of friendship and companionship over material goods, and the importance of listening instead of jumping to conclusions.