Have you ever found something that you thought was so great, it impelled you to enthusiastically show it to everyone you know? I know that I have shared music, tv shows, movies and books that I loved with friends and family, only to get replies of, “It’s okay.” and “I’ve heard/seen/read better.”
The ursine protagonist in Greg Foley’s picture book, Thank You Bear, also experiences this sort of rejection, but his ardor revolves around a simple box. His enthusiam for the box results in criticisms and rejections by his fellow animals, and our bear friend soon feels isolated and dejected. The book ends happily, as all picture books should, with the bear realizing that he is neither alone in his love for the box nor in his outlook on life.
In the world of children’s literature it is difficult for a fable to demonstrate pertinence to adults while also appealing to children’s sensibilities and emotional intellects; however, Greg Foley achieves these two aims beautifully. His art effectively demonstrates the emotional spectrum that Bear experiences throughout the books and opens the book to a more empathetic reading. I highly recommend Thank You Bear because Foley’s simple words, pictures, and story make its message of friendship enjoyable for adults and understandable to children.