Quietly contemplative, mingling hope and healing, this is a book that will offer comfort to many.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Bear and the Wildcat

The Bear and the Wildcat is a touching picture book about loneliness, grief and loss, ending with a positive new beginning.

Teacher notes

  • Description

    A picture book with delicate illustrations that explains the path of grief, ending with the uplifting new beginning of a budding friendship based on understanding.

    When the little bird dies, his friend the bear is inconsolable. Full of grief, he locks himself in his house and ventures out again only when the smell of young spring grass blows through his window. He always carries a small box, which he opens for no one.

    He meets a wildcat who understands his need to carry the box. As the cat plays on her violin, the bear remembers all the beauty he experienced with the little bird. Now he can bury his friend, keeping him alive in his memories and feelings.

    Explaining the topic of grief and loss in a way that speaks to any age and with a quiet understanding of what it is like to lose someone you love, The Bear and the Wildcat shows a way through paralyzing grief and simultaneously tells the story of a hopeful new friendship.

    • Tender and sensitive, this is an excellent tool for helping to explain the process of grief, loss and bereavement with children or anyone who needs it
    • Loved by adults and children, also suitable for schools, hospices, grief centers and counselors

    Translated from the Japanese edition by Cathy Hirano.

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Japan
    Reader Age 2-5 year, 5-7 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Kirkus Reviews, starred review (verified owner)

      Best Picture Books 2023

    2. Simon Smith, Twitter (verified owner)

      One of the most beautiful picturebooks about loss I’ve read.

    3. The Spinoff

      A poignant picture book to introduce young children to the various stages of loss – a deeply tender and healing odyssey.

    4. Otago Daily Times

      A touching and ultimately hopeful tale of friendship and grief, and of moving on after loss.

    5. Just Imagine

      A short review cannot hope to do justice to this jewel of a book. I can see it being a really wonderful addition to bereavement resources or to an SMSC/RE project on death for children from as young as four right up to adulthood with its muted artwork and gentle storytelling.

    6. Magpies Magazine

      The Bear and the Wildcat provides a sensitive treatment of death and grieving, free from sentimentality or trite.

    7. Publishers Weekly, starred review

      Hirano’s fine translation renders Bear’s transition in simple, natural-sounding English, and Yumoto’s sensitive characterization makes the story a touchstone for talking about loss.

    8. Wall Street Journal

      This tender story is … an ultimately forward-looking book for children who have loved and lost.

    9. Midwest Book Review

      A highly recommended, unique and very special addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-9.

    10. School Reading List

      A modern classic.

    11. Red Reading Hub

      Lyrically and lovingly written.

    12. Armadillo Magazine

      Simplicity and complexity vie in this stunning picturebook. On one level it is a simple story, simple text and stunning illustration, on the other it is a complex exploration of grief whose detailed monochrome illustrations reveal more than the first look reveals.

    13. Lancashire Evening Post

      The timeless classic, The Bear and the Wildcat, is back in print by popular demand and stills stands as one of the best picture books to guide children through the dark days of loss and grief. Picture book perfection.

    14. Youth Services Book Review, starred review

      A beautiful tribute to love and friendship and mourning.

    15. Booklist

      A deeply somber but ultimately uplifting read.

    16. Kirkus Reviews, starred review

      Quietly contemplative, mingling hope and healing, this is a book that will offer comfort to many.

    17. The Independent (UK)

      Touching and otherworldly, brave in its treatment of loss … A hauntingly beautiful book.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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