Bear wakes up one morning and instead of being in his soft warm bed at home, he is sleeping in a pile of cardboard boxes on a city street. He’s not quite sure how he got there, but he gets up to find something to eat. Although there is plenty of food in the shop windows, when he goes inside the shops he is chased away. Women faint and people hold their noses. Some even call the police. So Bear learns to sleep alone in his pile of boxes and old clothes during the day and not bother anyone. Then at night he goes about looking for food in the garbage cans. But one day, a small girl comes up to him and asks him why he is sad. She says he looks like a teddy bear and comes back to visit him again the next day. Bear starts to look forward to the little girl’s visits and begins to clean himself up to impress her. Now every morning on her way to school, the little girl stops and gives Bear a hug. Bear knows he’s not just a bear in the city, he’s a teddy bear.
The beauty of this story is the counterbalance of simplicity and complexity. A young child may take it on face-value. It’s a story about a bear living on the streets of the city who doesn’t feel loved until a little girl befriends him. An older reader will understand the parallels of the bear to the plight of the homeless in the world. It’s certainly a picture book that feeds the mind.