I love how Ellen Tarlow explores emotions. This book teaches us that we should treat all emotions with respect. Never dismiss emotions, particularly sadness. Bear and Smile (his smile) are inseparable; they do everything together. They begin each day walking in the woods, jumping in rain puddles, swimming with the ducks, and gazing at stars.
One dreadful day, bear woke up missing his smile. He went searching for his smile, asking all the animals in the forest. All the animals gave him suggestions to find his missing smile - the waterfall, the woods, in the bee hive with fresh honey but unfortunately he did not find it.
The ending is remarkable; the little red bird comforts the bear by simply sitting quietly next to him. The bird begins to sing and soon bear's smile returns. One important lesson anyone can learn (child or adult) - all you need is a listening ear and that being there for someone can help them heal.
What wonderful story... we all have those sad days; all we need is to find ways to find our smile back. Once we learn to identify the sad days, we can also help someone else feel better by just listening and being there.