Prather’s Pick: Book teaches kids how to stay healthy |

Prather’s Pick: Book teaches kids how to stay healthy

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

Prather's Picks

This week's picture book for children is all about some loving animals who try to help a bear feel better. However, with this year's bad flu season, I think the book can be extended to teach children about germs and how to stay healthy.

"Bear Feels Sick" was written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. It is published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. The book is intended for children age 3 to 7. The animals in this book are wonderfully kind, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful.

It's autumn, and Bear is checking out his cave, a very comfortable-looking place in a forest of trees. The wind is blowing leaves all around, but inside, the cave it is cozy. Bear tries to go to sleep. He's tired, but he also feels achy, and his nose is stuffed up.

Bear cuddles up with a beautiful quilt made from blue and yellow blocks, but it doesn't help. Bear sniffs. He sneezes. He whiffs and wheezes. In short, Bear feels sick.

Bear isn't alone. He has plenty of friends, and they come into the cave wanting to play. But Bear tells them he's too sick to play today. Mouse climbs up on Bear's head and feels his forehead. Sure enough, Bear is hot — too hot. There's no doubt about it; Bear is sick, and it isn't long until he's moaning, grumbling and groaning.

So Mouse, Hare, Raven, Badger, Gopher, Owl, Mole and Wren decide to help Bear. Badger brings some water, and Gopher makes some broth from carrots and potatoes. Mole puts a cool cloth on Bear's forehead. Raven and Owl pull the blanket over him, and Mouse whispers soothing words to him.

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What a touching sight. The animals feed Bear broth from a cup and are generally supportive, but Bear is still sick. So Owl, Wren and Raven gather herbs and make tea for Bear. They get him to drink a little, but one look at the poor old bear tells all. He's feeling miserable.

Bear shivers, coughs and quivers. Hare gives him a handkerchief. When Bear coughs, the animals turn away. Smart animals.

The animals draw pictures for Bear. They bring him flowers, and they sing lullabies. Finally, Bear falls asleep. The poor animals are exhausted. They fall asleep, too.

Before long, Bear feels better. He wants to play, but guess what?

Sharing this book with young children is an opportunity to talk about washing hands often, covering the mouth when coughing and other tips to keep them from catching diseases from others. Children might also compare how they feel when sick and well.

You can find this book in the children's room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries. Since the book has a 2007 copyright, you may be able to find it in softcover. Check with Downtown Books. The hardcover edition costs $16.99.