The title is an old literary joke (quite a funny one) and the bear, well he's just a little cub named Edward although this novel, so called, one suspects is a memoir and every page is smudged with first person fingerprints. Ed is a Negro, and right at the beginning he tells you the ""sharpness of being a Negro. . . wears off and you get used to it just as if you have a wooden leg, or one eye and you don't notice it unless you come to a high curb."" This then is just about being Ed--growing up in Chicago above a tailor's shop (where he learns about undergarments as well as garments): going to school (the worst fighter in the second grade), scouts summer camp, high school, and college in a small Ohio town. All those unassuming small words may be applied (modest, unpretentious, natural) which will only encourage the book to be overlooked. Which would be too bad since all the small change or youthful experience retains its very lively currency.