It is autumn in the woods and Big Bear sneezes so loud and with so much force that he's convinced he has blown all the leaves off the trees and caused the apples to fall to the ground. As a courteous animal, he tries to make things right. Another fierce sneeze down by the lake sends twenty geese flying, and again Big Bear takes the blame upon himself. But the Autumn Breeze is behind all of these happenings, and she is intent on getting Big Bear to recognize that. He decides it is time to head to his den and take a long snooze.
It is interesting to note that Tibetan Buddhist masters use this slogan as a mind training exercise leading to compassion: "Drive all blames into one." Pema Chodron advises: "Instead of always blaming the other, own the feeling of blame . . . and make friends with it." This opens the door to feeling compassion for yourself and in turn for others. In other words, on the bodhisattva path, Big Bear's attitude would be celebrated!
In a less spiritual reading of this children's book aimed at kids 4 through 8 years of age, we can praise Big Bear for his courtesy to those he thinks he has disturbed. Either way, he is a hero. Hats off to the near perfect illustrations by Will Hillenbrand.