Middle Bear

Susanna Isern
Manon Gauthier

He was the second of three brothers. “He was not big, but he was not small, either. Neither strong nor weak, neither tall nor short, neither a lot nor a little ... He was the middle one.” Everything about life with his brothers was middle-sized. And when you're always in the middle, sometimes it's hard to feel special. But then, one day the cubs' parents fell ill, and their mother asked them to fetch some medicinal bark from a willow tree on the top of a mountain. When it turned out that this very important task could only be done by a cub of his middle size, he finally realized how special it was to be the middle one.

Author Susanna Isern's lovely, melodic picture book tale --- with a delightful use of repetition throughout --- offers an upbeat and positive message to middle children everywhere. It's a subject that is not often addressed in this format. With its hero's quest theme, the story has the feel of a modern-day fairy tale. Manon Gauthier's spare artwork and understated palette perfectly capture the poignancy of the bear cub's emotional journey. Though the book focuses on the role of middle children, it really celebrates every child's efforts toward self-discovery, as they seek out their own special place in the world. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the character education subject of perseverance or a lesson on empathy.

978-1-77138-842-9 | Oct 3, 2017
List Price: USD $16.99, CAD $18.99
4-color 10 x 9 34 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7

Educational Resources

Adult Directed

Awards & Reviews

“A solid tale about birth order and finding one's own strengths rather than worrying about measuring up when compared with others.”
— School Library Journal, July 2017
“A neatly pitched lesson for the middle child.”
— Kirkus Reviews, August 2017
“... a story that thoughtfully acknowledges children's inner lives.”
— Booklist, September 2017
“... a good addition to the story time shelf, and it's useful for that discussion about everyone being able to make their own contribution.”
— CM Magazine, January 2018
“This adorable story can be used not only for every middle child who feels that they are not as special as their siblings, but also to teach children that they are capable of amazing things, and that “being just right” is relative.”
— Quebec Library Association, May 2018
2018 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner

Also Recommended