My granddaughter asked me to read, The very cranky bear by Nick Bland on a recent visit. I was surprised that this simple story could be so insightful.

Zebra has a plan to cheer up the Cranky Bear by giving him strips. Moose thought he needed antlers and Lion thought he needed a golden mane. Each of them thought the bear needed what they had. It was the sheep who actually listened and helped him get what he really wanted.

It was a well-written story with minimal words, yet the meaning is clear. The pictures are strong and distinct. They add great visuals to the story.

The story reminds me that it’s easy to be like Zebra, Moose and Lion who make assumptions about what others want and the value of listening.

A great lesson in empathy.