Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
This is a lovely, gentle picture book with wonderful illustrations in watercolor that depict appealing fall, winter, and spring landscapes and show Bear as a gentle, soulful creature. It is fall and Bear is sleepy, but he has a story he wants to share with his friends before he settles in for his winter’s sleep. However, each animal he comes to is also preparing for winter (Mole is already asleep) and doesn’t have time to hear Bear’s story. So instead the kind-hearted bear helps Mouse, Duck, and Frog with their preparations. Bear himself then goes to sleep. Upon awakening in the spring, he greets his four friends and they gather together to hear Bear’s story. But Bear cannot remember his story! He has forgotten it over the long winter. So his friends help him out, suggesting maybe it was a story about a bear, and maybe it was about the time before winter when animals (such as themselves) are busy. And thus Bear’s narrative gets told with the help of his friends, the first line of Bear’s story being the same as the first line in the book. A sweet story of friendship.