Thursday, September 30, 2010
It’s B week in preschool, with bears for a theme. In a happy coincidence, Daddy brought back a bear souvenir from his last business trip, we got lots of pictures of bears on our weekend trip to the river, and there is no shortage of great bear books to read! Classics that come to mind include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears, and of course Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The one I chose to share with you (and highlight here at home) is one you should become familiar with, if you’re not already.
You’ll Never Know Until You Try…
Ever run into resistance from your little sprout to try a new food, activity, or even article of clothing just because it was unfamiliar? Of course not, me either. (HA! I wish!) Pick up a copy of A Visitor for Bear, by Bonnie Becker, and you’ll not only enjoy the lovely illustrations, humorous surprises, and charming friendship, but you’ll also have in hand a subtle lesson that we shouldn’t dismiss the unknown as undesirable. In this enjoyable read-aloud, Bear is so determined that he dislikes visitors that he posts a sign outside his door. The sign does not deter Mouse, however, as he persists in attempts to be invited in to tea. Despite being shooed out over and over again, with further locks and barricades each time, Mouse continues appearing (“small, and gray, and bright-eyed”) in the cabinet, in the bread drawer, all over the kitchen! Kids and grown-ups alike will delight in Bear’s futile attempts to get rid of Mouse; his humorous exclamations, like “Vamoose!” “Begone!” and “Insufferable!” will incite giggles and provide a language lesson! Out of exasperation, Bear agrees to let Mouse stay for tea if he promises to leave afterward. Then he finds that he enjoys Mouse laughing at his jokes and being attentive to his stories, prompting him to tear down his No Visitors sign, assuring Mouse it’s only for salesmen, “not for friends.”
Learning from Bear
I think there’s a reminder here to all of us that sometimes we get so wrapped up in having things go our way, or the way we planned, that we might miss out on something wonderful and unexpected. Toddlers and preschoolers thrive on routine and predictability in their lives, but a little push to their social-emotional development to adjust and adapt to change is a positive lesson. One we could all benefit from now and then. Enjoy the giggles during the reading, then keep Bear’s realization in reserve next time you’re trying to cajole your little one (or yourself) into trying something new. What habit would you like to shake up in your family?
Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.
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