Saturday, December 3, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and thirty-seven

I like to think that I am a good listener, but there are times when I hear myself talking for too much and saying "I" far too much, which is when I endeavor to shut my mouth and do some listening instead. This picture book is about a bear who cannot find anyone who is willing to listen to what he has to say, and who feels very frustrated as a result.

I know that this book is out of print, but I so enjoyed reading it that I reviewed it anyway. You can still buy it on Amazon and in stores.

Heinz Janisch
Illustrated by Silke Leffler
Picture book
For ages 5 to 7
NorthSouth, 2009, 978-0-7358-2235-1
   One day a bear tells an inventor that he has a problem. Without waiting to hear what the problem is, the inventor announces that he knows exactly what the bear needs. Convinced that the bear’s problem is his great weight, the inventor gives the bear a pair of wings so that he can “feel lighter.”
  His problem still very much unsolved, the bear moves on. He meets a tailor who, just like the inventor, does not let the bear explain what his problem is. Instead, the tailor gives the bear a scarf, which the tailor is sure the bear needs.
   Every person the bear meets is convinced that he or she has the solution to the bear’s problem, and each one of these people fails to let the bear explain what his problem is. Soon the bear is loaded down with a hat, a pair of glasses, a jar of honey, a box of pills, a good luck charm, and a pair of boots. Since none of these items will solve the bear’s problem, he sets them aside, feeling very despondent. Is there no one who will listen to what he has to say?
   Many of have a tendency to talk too much and to listen too little. We think that we know all the answers, even when we don’t really know what the questions are. In this clever picture book, Heinz Janisch helps his readers to see that being a good listener is very important. Indeed, being a good listener can help you make new friends, and it can make you a better friend to the people you already know.  
   With wonderful collage illustrations and a story that conveys a meaningful message, this picture book will resonate with anyone who doesn’t have someone who will listen to them.
   

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