51. “My Friend Bear” by Jez Alborough

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Yet, if you know someone, with whom you can laugh until your stomachs hurt, that is your real friend.

Eddie has a teddy bear, Freddy. What a shame Freddy doesn’t speak!  Big Bear has a teddy too, and his doesn’t talk either, until… Eddie tricks Big Bear into thinking that his giant teddy can converse. Once the scam is revealed and the Bear realized his silliness, the boy and the Bear can’t stop laughing. “Do you think that they’re lonely? Not anymore… That’s what having friends is for.”

“My Friend Bear” is a superb story. Once again, Jez Alborough put a complex matter of loneliness and friendship in a seemingly simple picture book format and arrived at a masterpiece that speaks to children and adults alike. Unbelievable! You just have to read it and see the funny (or fuzzy?) pictures. The story is written in rhyme that makes it a read-aloud delight. You basically can stage the whole thing and give your children a little show.

And then just join Eddie, the Bear and their teddies in a long and silly laugh until your bellies ache. Doctors recommend it on a daily basis, and so does the writer, I guess, looking at the number of synonyms of laughter he used in the story.

The  book made me think about my old school friends- every time I would see them, my belly would get proper workout; and about my son’s friends: crazy laughter sessions with Polina, giggling under the table with Finnegan… what a shame thy had to move away…

I wish us all to always have a friend with whom we can be silly.

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