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Late November Story The Sleepy Bear, by Suzanne Down

A Call for ‘Sheltering’ Stories

 Our world today seems very fragile in so many ways.  We feel this as adults – leading to our own worries and vulnerabilities.  One simple way to help our children feel secure in the world is to tell stories where the characters find a safe and cozy shelter. 

Our Late November story is a simple peaceful story of Bear preparing for hibernation.  His long winter sleep will be in a cave, protected from snow, wind, and rain.  Dry and cozy, it is a happy and snug fit!  The children inwardly experience the bear settling to sleep in his cave shelter; much like the safety they feel being tucked in tight under their warm blankets at night.  They know bear will sleep well until he awakens in spring just when his dandelion breakfast is ready to eat!


Late November Story –   The Sleepy Bear

The Sleepy Bear

It was late autumn in the mountain valley where grandma lived.  On the forest hill behind her farm there were trees and rocks, low bushes, and grassy clumps.  Animals made their homes in that forest.  Every year when the leaves had fallen to the ground, Bear comes to the forest.  He walks through the woods, rumble, bumble, rumble, bumble, heavy are his feet on the ground.

He walks by Raven’s tree; rumble bumble, shaking the ground as he goes by.  He nods at Raven, and Raven squawks and flies away.

Bear goes down the trail, rumble bumble, past Raccoon who hides in a hollow log.

Further along, Rabbit hops by, stops and hears a sounds…rumble bumble…sounds like Bear, and Rabbit scurries down her hole in the ground.

In the trees stands Deer, quiet, listening.  Rumble bumble….deer flicks her tail and stamps her feet.  Swiftly she leaps away before Bear comes.

Rumble bumble, Bear looks up, Owl is in the tree, ‘whoo whoo,’ greeting bear as he walks by.

Fox stands on the rocks, sniffing the air.  Smells like Bear, and she crouches behind the big rock as he passes, rumble, bumble, around the rock and up the path the highest cliff.

Bear looks over the land.  There below is grandma’s farm; fire comes out of the chimney.  The people are warm in their home.  Bear finds a cave where he curls up snug, with his thick fur against the rock wall of the cave.  Ahhh, he fits just right. 

Outside, the first snow begins to fall.  Bear is already asleep, and he will sleep deeply all winter long.  His thick fur will keep him warm.  The strong rock cave will keep him dry and safe.  The forest is quiet now.

The End


 Story Craft – Nature Puppets

 I love telling this story in the forest….the stage is all around us.  Telling stories in a nature setting is particularly special for children.  The leaves are all fallen to the ground, the air is turning chilly.  Our imaginations are heightened with the crispness of the air.

Pinecones make wonderful puppets…for this story, find a big pinecone bear.

 Raven, raccoon deer, rabbit, owl, fox  - can all be made with smaller pine cones, feathers, seed pods, nuts, interesting shapes of wood/branches/twigs….stones shaped just so, leaves,  and if you are lucky, the whole story could be circled around a hollow log, or a great open root house.  Alter the story as you wish.


The important thing is to have a vivid imagination of each animal in your inner life….it will become what you hold in your inner image.  You are the guide in how you gesture the animals.   A bear is rumbly and heavy in his footsteps, a deer fleet footed….you get the idea. 

This story is a very simple meandering tale of a bear preparing for hibernation.  It is a late autumn nature tale.  It would work very well as a table puppet story, or best of all, in a circle of children as a puppet play sitting on a forest floor.  It is an easy quiet story.  The bear goes around the circle of children from one lap to the next, greeting the other animals on it’s journey to find his cave.  The children can be your helper puppeteers, only after they have watched you do this story a few times, to take in and imitate your ensouled gestures with the puppets.


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If you are interested in learning how to set up a puppet play of this story and others in a beginner friendly online course on The Art of Lap Puppetry, all about presentation skill building CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.