Little Bear wakes up after his long hibernation to find snow still on the ground, and no-one in sight, though he does find a little round stone which looks rather sad, so he picks it up and tucks into his fur, and goes ‘lippetty-loppetty’ off down the track. He is looking for someone to play with, but the birds are too busy, as spring’s on its way. He asks ‘What is spring?’ and they reply: ‘the sun shimmers out through the cold winter’s gloom, and the buds open up and burst forth into bloom’. He tries and fails to build a successful nest, and moves on to a family of hares racing about, also too busy – they too say that spring is a beautiful thing: ‘the air throbs and thrums with the hum of the bees, and the sky comes alive in the arm wafting breeze’. He tries and fails to leap, and moves on to a family of wolves. For them spring is wonderful thing, ‘After long hungry months we find nice things to eat. Now come nearer, my dear, you look ever so sweet,’ but Little Bear is aware of the danger and runs off, still with only the stone for company. He climbs a tree to escape, and the stone falls out and cracks. Coming down, he kicks it away and settles down to sleep. In the morning, the meadow is a riot of colourful flowers, and of course the ‘stone’ kept warm in his fur has hatched: a little duck is cheeping at him. Finally he has a friend to play with, and that’s what they do for the rest of the day, in ‘the magical wonderful joy of the spring’. The last double spread sees him finding his own family of bears, and the final page shows him with his mother, and, in the background, the duck reunited with its own family.
Briony May Smith has used a rather retro style for this book, which matches Elli Woollard’s rhyming language, especially in the descriptions of spring. This is a pleasant book, but not outstanding.