The Bear and the Moon is a stunning journey through the joys and sorrows of Bear and his new companion. The reader is swept away by his initial delight at meeting his new friend and equally saddened by their sudden parting. The theme of grief is explored with a subtle elegance. Bear’s feeling of guilt, mirrors that of a child’s in grief. It illustrates their difficulty in comprehending the conclusiveness of the final goodbye.
Burgess uses simple and soothing language to convey his beautiful and poignant story. Each word is chosen and placed with tenderness, as that of a parent comforting a child. Chien compliments this perfectly and creates a rich world of colour. The story plays on contrasting spreads; some white with small areas of colour for action. Yet where we find Bear and his friend together, colour blankets them completely. The pictures have an almost fur-like texture which continues to build this sense of comfort.
This simple yet awe-inspiring book is certainly a story for the younger reader at home. Its restful quality is sure to bring calm at bedtime. The outcome of the bear finding peace is both uplifting and inspiring. I also feel that this book could play a role in the classroom as a subtle introduction to coping with loss and understanding grief. A true treasure at home and for the classroom.