The Bear and the Wildcat
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Author: Kazumi Yumoto
Illustrator: Komako Sakai
Publisher: Gecko Press
How this book might help: This book covers themes of grief, loneliness and loss in a clear and touching way.
When Bear finds his best friend Bird lying dead one morning he is devastated. He shuts himself away in his house and sinks deeply into his grief. One Spring morning, he feels ready to venture out again and meets a wildcat who plays beautiful music on his violin. Bear's happy memories of Bird come rushing back and he decides that it is time to bury his dear friend in a forest clearing. Bear and Wildcat begin to travel the world, playing and dancing together.
Things we liked about this book: The author has created a beautiful and poignant portrayal of the grieving process and how time, love and support can lift a seemingly endless sadness from a bereaved person. The illustrations, which are very unusual for a children's book, are in thick black charcoal with only small hints of colour. Despite being unconventional, they blend perfectly with the story and strongly emphasise the range of emotions Bear is experiencing.