The Bear and the Wildcat

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The Bear and the Wildcat
Author: Kazumi Yumoto
Illustrator: Komako Sakai
Specifications: ISBN  978-4309270074
48 pages
18.4 x 23.4 cm / 7.4 x 9.4 in (WxH)
Category: Children & YA
Ages: 7+
Publisher: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, Publishers
Tokyo, 2008
Awards: Kodansha Award for Picture Books, 2010
Translations: Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, English, Korean, Spanish
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Country Languages Publisher Title ISBN Translator Affiliate Link
Brazil Portuguese
China Simplified Chinese 新經典文化
France French L'Ecole des Loisirs L'ours et le chat sauvage 978-2211204057 Florence Seyvos
Germany German MORITZ VERLAG Der Bär und die Wildkatze 978-3895652073 Ursula Gräfe
New Zealand English Gecko press Bear and the Wildcat 978-1877467707
Portugal Portuguese Bruaa Editora
South Korea Korean
Spain Spanish Editiorial Cormbo El oso y el gato salvaje 978-8484703372 Rafael Ros Sierra
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A bear is heartbroken because his good friend, a little bird, has died. The bear puts the bird in a pretty wooden box and carries it with him. The forest creatures want to know what's in the box, and when he opens it and shows them, they tell him, "It's hard, we know, but you have to let go and move on." The bear shuts himself up in his house and locks the door . . .

We are made to feel the sorrow and anxiety the bear experiences on suddenly losing someone dear, and his sense of alienation from those who don't seem to understand his feelings. Then, as time passes and the bear begins to come out of his shell, he meets a wildcat who plays a melody on the violin for the sake of the bear and the dead little bird. As he gives himself to the music, the bear remembers the many happy times he shared with his friend. At last the bear is able to bury the little bird in a spot they both loved, and begins to recover. The wildcat must have experienced the same kind of sorrow himself at one time, but we are not told anything about that.

As the bear's emotions begin to heal, the black and white pictures on a dark beige background gradually take on a pinkish hue, as if to cheer him on. This picture book subtly yet powerfully describes the separation from a beloved being that all of us experience at some point, and our gradual process of recovery. It has won praise from readers of all ages. (Sachiyo Hosoe)