As a parent, I read a lot of children’s books. Some I read and then put down and say a silent prayer that my children forget about it and never ask to hear it again, but then there are those special books that I feel like I could read a hundred times and never grow tired of. They reach to a deeper part of me than expected and I find myself thinking about them and developing in my mind what they really, truly mean.
Despite its simplicity, there is something poignant about Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
These are such simple words, and yet they possess such deep meaning to a parent and a child, and a beautiful exploration of what it means to be a family.
As this father and his children embark on a day, a beautiful day as the book states, they are presented with a series of obstacles. Grass, mud, water, etc.…and the solution is always the same.
“We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it. Oh no, we got to go through it!”
But they do get through it, together. I love stories like this because they don’t present themselves as something heavy and hard to process and yet they stir in a child, and a parent, subtle realizations that can forge strong bonds. They fortify a feeling of family and togetherness and trust. As long as we have each other, we can get through anything.
I also love the way that the problems are presented as seemingly small things that are, in the eyes of the family, worrisome. “Grass, long wavy grass”…not sure that sounds like a big problem and yet, it’s followed by the words, “Uh oh.” As my kids get older and their emotions develop (and let’s face it, turn them into tiny crazy people) I see them look at the smallest of obstacles and turn them into astronomical problems. This book so cleverly taps into that reality. Sometimes a child has a hard time gaging the real ‘size’ of a problem, but it’s important that they know that they can always take the hand of their parent and trust that we’ll get through it, together.