Summary from Amazon: Bear and Bird are best friends. They live together in the middle of a beautiful forest. Bear and Bird have been planning an adventure all day - but when Frog turns up unannounced, Bear is so excited he forgets all about Bird. Bird is sulking because his big plans have been spoilt. But when Bear and Frog find themselves in trouble Bird has to swoop to their rescue - perhaps he will get his big adventure after all!
Bear, Bird and Frog, written and illustrated by Gwen Millward, published by Egmont Books, 2014.
My Thoughts as a Writer:
The concept of two friends leaving another one out came across really well with the animal characters in this story. This situation happens a lot in classrooms and day cares, so it's a theme children can easily relate to, yet it also has the possibility for much discussion about feelings.
This book was a good one for studying picture book structure: the problem of the story was introduced within the first ¼ of the book, then it escalated and the reader could connect with Bird’s feelings, and in the last ¼ of the book, there was a crisis and Bird came to a realization. For me, the realization was a bit contrived since it became evident through a reaction to circumstances, but that may be just a matter of personal taste. I don’t think it would bother young readers.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
Any early primary students will easily relate to Bird and the feeling of being left out. This book will be useful to spark discussions about feelings and strategies to cope with them, as well as what it means to be a friend. I am always on the lookout for good books to help children understand that sometimes it’s okay for a friend to sometimes play with someone else.
A good activity for this book would be for students to take the roles of different characters (e.g. Bird, Bear, Frog) and talk about what happened from their point of view, to get different perspectives on the situation. The ending also invites the reader to imagine things the friends could do the next day, so another great activity would be to have students draw and write about what happened next.
If you're looking for more great picture books to read to your class or to investigate as a writer, author Susanna Leonard Hill has a wonderful list of Perfect Picture Books, categorized by theme and topic.