What child doesn’t enjoy a trip to the library? We go almost weekly, and come away with a backpack FULL of books, which my daughter has usually read by the time we get home. We also have a pretty extensive children’s book collection here at the house. I hope one day we’ll have a library in our house just for the kids. I buy books like I buy milk, and I have so many favorites. Some are from my childhood, and some we’ve recently discovered. This is my number one all-time favorite children’s book, and I think you would agree with me that it is perhaps the sweetest little book ever written.

Bear by Himself
by Geoffrey Hayes

“There are times when a bear has to be alone with himself. To think his own thoughts and sing his own songs.”

The small bear in this story spends one perfect day all alone, except that we readers get to come with him on his adventures. Bear is content to be all by himself, and seeks out activities that one can only enjoy when unaccompanied. His daily actions are so simple (“smelling the rain, listening to the quiet”), and so endearing, that you will find yourself, when you have come to the end of the story, with a little tear in your eye and a compulsion to go back to the first page and read it again. I’m serious, it’s that good!

When I was young, my sister, Stephanie, and I would take out this book from our little library over and over again. We kept it for months at a time. The bear in the original version looks strikingly similar to her cherished childhood bear friend, and I think we both secretly hoped that if we checked this little book out enough times, eventually they would just let us keep it.

I found vintage copies of the first printing for me, my mom, and sister a few years ago. The photo above is of the newer printing, and although it is cute, the original (1976) illustrations are just charming, simple pencil drawings with hints of green watercolor splashed in all the right places.

Perhaps it’s the memory of reading it with my mom as a child that makes it so special to me, but this one is a must for every children’s library! You can purchase an original printing of the book here or find the newer version here.