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Is Anybody Listening?

I knew I was going to love this book simply from the title. In fact I would not change a single word of Austrian writer i-have-a-little-problem-medHeinz Janisch‘s  “I Have a Little Problem,” said the bear, a two claws up read from North South Books;  nor could I ignore its gorgeous, whimsical illustrations by acclaimed artist, Silke Leffler.

The bear needs to discuss something, something which seems to be worrying him. However in his futile yet comical attempt to find someone to lend an ear, he finds everyone and everything but! Very patiently, our big brown protagonist carries on his quest to be heard, from a visit to the inventor and tailor all the way to the street vendor, eye doctor and shoemaker. HELLO!!  Is anybody listening? When eventually the frustrated bear climbs to the top of a hill to assess all his encounters, he meets a very understanding fly who not only listens to the bear, but befriends him as well. I Have a Little Problem,” said the bear is not only a satisfying read, but a meaningful one, too.  What works so well in this story is the kind-of in your face (or in bear’s case, on his body) way the author drives home his message that as adults we are often too quick to offer a solution before really hearing the problem.  So tonight at dinner I am going to make a very conscious effort to open my listening ears and close my mouth except when taking a bite to eat.

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