Good Mood Bear
Written and illustrated by: Daniella Dekel London
The bear is sad and lonely. He is only used to playing with bears, and is certain he cannot play with any other animal. A tortoise, rabbit, and pair of snails, teach him that with creativity and good humor, he can learn to have fun with all kinds of friends. This story will put you in a very good mood!
"A good friend" (Ethics of the Fathers, 2:9)
Many sources in Jewish tradition emphasize the importance of having good friends in our lives, their positive impact on us, and the efforts one should put into developing and maintaining relationships with good friends.
In Ethics of the Fathers there is a story about Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, who asked his disciples to suggest ways of helping a person walk the good path. They gave several answers to this question, and Rabbi Joshua pointed out the importance of having a good friend:
[Rabbi Yochanan] said to them [his disciples]: Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire. Said Rabbi Eliezer: A good eye. Said Rabbi Joshua: A good friend. Said Rabbi Yossei: A good neighbor. Said Rabbi Shimon: To see what is born [out of one's actions]. Said Rabbi Elazar: A good heart.
A good friend is not necessarily one who is most like us, or always sees eye to eye with us, but one who can open our eyes, and help us pursue new paths. Good friends do not give up on us, and know how to do so with love and good humor.
Perhaps you would like to look at Daniella Dekel London's amusing illustrations, and use them to follow the plot. What do the animals like doing together? Did you find the three ants running away? Have you managed to identify the various animals concealed in Good Mood Bear?
- You may enjoy acting this story out together. Who can be the bear, and how will you disguise yourselves? And who will play the part of the other animals? At the end of the show, you could make some sandwiches and eat them together in a special friendly picnic.
- Many things can put you in a good mood: playing with friends, singing and dancing, or hugging. Perhaps you would like to discuss the various things that make you happy, and choose one that fills your heart with delight – like singing and dancing together, going for a walk in the neighborhood, or reading your favorite books together!
- The bear in the book makes new friends, and the group has a great time together. Following this story, you may want to invite a new friend home, and try out new things together. Have you made a new friend? Did spending time together put you in a good mood?
- "I'm bored and have no one to play with!" Just like the bear, we have all felt sad or bored at times, and do not always have friends around. You may enjoy preparing a "good mood kit" together: decorate a shoebox, and put little prizes in it, such as stickers, crayons, or small games. Keep the box hidden, and take it out when you're lonely or bored.
- Perhaps you could make little bears from various items. What could you use for round ears? And how will you give it a chubby belly?
- You and your child can also dress up as bears, other animals, and even various family members. You may want to create a costume and prop basket, filled with various materials, hats, glasses, and household items. Dress up, guess each other's costumes, and get in a good mood!
Enjoy reading and discussing the book together!