A round of applause for Bear and Wolf!

A lone bear and a lone wolf spot each other across a snowy landscape. Can they be friends?

I have never received a spontaneous round of applause for reading a story to a class. But Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri was so beautiful it captivated a rambunctious kindergarten class and lulled them into a soft, snowy landscape of prowling bears, skulking wolves, sleeping fish and the most delicate, drifting snowflakes.

One of the things, I think, make a difference to how a class enjoy a book is to show some information about the author. We had been looking at books by Oliver Jeffers and we watched videos of him speaking and drawing. The class are starting to understand that books are created by people and they are beginning to appreciate the effort and talent that go into making a really good book.

So, when the class arrived I was already playing this video to introduce them to Daniel Salmieri.

Daniel talks about the characters in the book, not only bear and wolf, but also the snow. I made sure to ask the class questions about the colour of the snowflakes (can snowflakes be pink and blue and white?) and also how every snowflake is different.

How would they draw snow? I asked.

‘Animals experience their whole lives through their physical senses’.

When bear and wolf stop and hear the snowflakes fall onto their fur I took the opportunity to talk about animal senses and how much better a wolf’s hearing is compared to ours. His sense of smell is even better. What would he smell in the forest?

When bird sees wolf and bear from high above the trees, what is he thinking? Does he think a bear and a wolf can be friends?

When bear returns to hibernate and wolf returns to his pack, they hope that they will meet again. And, when spring finally arrives they spot one another across a new landscape, full of vibrant greens and spring flowers. No wonder the class clapped. It is wonderful!

As always, I like to show the class a video of real animals and I was hoping to find something fun and playful. But, even better – I found the real story of a bear and a wolf who became friends. Finnish photographer, Lassi Rautiainen, photographed a bear and a wolf in northern Finland in 2013. Over a period of 10 days he observed them meeting up every night. They shared food, played and enjoyed each others company. The photographs are magical.

Photos by Lassi Rautiainen

Photos by Lassi Rautiainen


Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri. Published by Enchanted Lion Books.



  1. 6th November 2019 / 5:24 pm

    Great post, Jill! The art looks wonderful! A book to look out for! Plus I love the story of the Finnish photographer following the Bear and wolf friends.

    • SpeakWhale
      15th November 2019 / 10:40 am

      Thank you Julie, it is a really beautiful picture book. I just checked with my supplier (Browns Books) and saw that your book Yusra Swims is available and Little Tiger and Little Panda will be out next year. I look forward to getting those for my library!

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