How Do You Care For A Very Sick Bear? (Vanessa Bayer)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How Do You Care For A Very Sick Bear?, written by Vanessa Bayer and illustrated by Rosie Butcher, a tender look at how children can help a friend with a serious illness.

The story opens on two bear cubs, both with traditionally female attributes, frolicking together as they play. You and “your Bear” are the best of friends, the second-person text notes, and enjoy spending all your time together: talking, playing, exploring, imagining. But what happens when your Bear is very sick – too sick to play outside or run around or do all the things you normally do? How do you care for your very sick Bear, and be a friend to them when they need one the most?

Lovely. Drawing from her personal experiences battling leukemia in her teens, Bayer has crafted a delicate, moving ode to friendship, especially that rare and precious type that sees us through dark times. Reading primarily as an instructional tale (readers are encouraged to bring cards, snacks, and games; to talk and listen to their friend about the mundane and the serious; to understand if their friend needs space or rest, etc.), the affirming and positive language, paired with Butcher’s gentle and adorable storybook-style art, carries a delicate depth that keeps the tone light, yet leaves the reader with a lasting feeling of warmth. Even the details, such as the Bayer/Bear wordplay and the young Bear’s knit cap during her illness, feel measured, considered, and deeply personal, giving the story an authenticity that those with their own sick young bears will appreciate. JJ enjoyed the lovely art and the soothing tone of the text, but I think that as a mother, I got the most out of this one – it’s a wonderful resource for children and adults who may feel confused or helpless during an impossibly trying time, offering both a little direction and a little hope. The length was fine for any age, and we highly recommend this one – Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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