A long, hard rainstorm traps two anthropomorphic forest friends inside their den, testing their friendship.
A hare and a bear, longtime pals, are waiting out a summer rainstorm. Before long, the hare is getting a little squirrely; his face takes on a strained expression. Busy cooking, the bear expresses his sympathy repeatedly, always ending with a “There, there.” In a rage, the hare kicks a chair, stubs his toe, and weeps uncontrollably. The bear begins to lose his patience. When the hare complains about the moldy carrots, the bear declares that he’s “had it up to HERE!” He grabs the hare and drags him out into the rain. Getting down on all fours in the mud, he picks up an earthworm. “If you think your life is grim, / Just be glad that you’re not him,” the bear announces. “When he meets his own rear end, / He mistakes it for a friend!” The hare sits quietly and stares at the poor blind wrinkled little creature, and he thinks, “Things aren’t so bad.” He apologizes, and the bear takes his hand and walks him back home. And, miraculously, the rain has stopped. Everyone is happy…except the insulted earthworm! Beiser’s verse is substantial if a bit shaggy, and his story is a nice reminder to short-tempered children. Slavin’s bright illustrations nicely capture the expressive emotions of the two critter cronies.
Funny and spirited. (Picture book. 4-8)