Beaver and Mole are heartbroken at the loss of their dear friend, Bear. They offer gentle support and comfort to one another as they experience a gamut of emotions including sadness, anger, numbness and sometimes think they can hear Bear’s voice.
The seasons change and with Spring almost upon them, Beaver and Mole decide to pay a visit to Bear’s treehouse. “ … The woods will be full of snowdrops. Bear loved snowdrops,” Mole says as they head off through the woods.
Once outside they discover Bear’s ladder and boxes of nails and decide to put up the ladder and go inside. “Bear loved us, Mole says, “and he wouldn’t mind in the slightest.” What they discover inside makes the two decide to finish the treehouse that Bear had started and invite all their friends to come and assist with the project.
As they work, the animals take turns to share their fond memories of Bear, finding joy in so doing, as well as in their joint project.
With the task nearing completion Mouse finds finds an old painting and then finally as they sit together celebrating Bear and sharing cake they find out that their friend had been planning an awesome surprise for them. It’s one they can always treasure, just like their memories.
This is such a beautiful, sensitively written and illustrated book. Jane’s illustrations chronicles the passage of time through the changing seasons, while also showing that although some of their feelings such as anger will dissipate over the months, their fond feelings remain constant. The sharing of grief helps ease the pain of loss and makes remembering so much more joyful.
A wonderful story to read together as a family or with a KS1 class.