On a low shelf in the Mildred and Dildred toy store in Tucson, Arizona, a little brown bear opened his eyes with wonder. There was something different about this morning. It was going to be special. He could feel it in his heart.
A swan on display near the door cried out, “Look sharp! Customer inbound!” This created a frenzy amongst the menagerie. The bunnies sat up straighter. The cats quickly licked their paws and smoothed down their fur. And when the door to the shop opened and the customer stepped through, all became quiet again on the shelves. All, except for one, that is.
“I’m never going to be found,” said a little bear named Tibearius Bee. “I’m always at the back of the shelf! No one will ever see me!”
“Shh!” Growled the grizzly bear next to him.
“Maybe I could sit in the front today, Griswold?” Tibearius asked.
“No.” Was the reply.
“She’s coming this way!” Hissed a cat on a neighboring shelf, warning them all to remain quiet. All the animals shivered in anticipation. A woman was lingering, looking at them all. Was she in need of a bunny? A chicken? Perhaps a lamb, or a unicorn? Maybe an elephant was what she desired or a kitten with stripes? She seemed delighted with them all. How would she ever choose?
She lingered longest at the shelf with the bears. Tibearius held his breath. Two legs in sandy colored trousers were all that he could see.
The customer leaned down to get a better look and a hand reached out! But to the small bear’s disappointment, the bear in front of him was the one lifted off the shelf to be inspected.
His shoulders fell in despair. Tibearius had really believed with all his heart that today was going to be special.
And then, to his surprise, the other bear was returned to the shelf.
“Oh! Pick me! Please!” Tibearius shouted. The other animals gasped. Had she heard?
“Hello there.” The customer said, and lifted Tibearius off the shelf. “Who might you be?”
“My name is Tibearius Bee!”
“Such a big name for one so small.”
“Are you looking for a bear?”
“Would you consider me?”
“Perhaps.” She inspected him. “Tell me, Tibearius. Would you like to travel and see new things?”
“Oh yes,” the bear replied. “I assure you, I know all about adventures. I’ve read about so many.” He pointed over to a spinning rack of Golden Books, and to a bookshelf with the Adventures of Frog and Toad. “And I know how to read a map,” he added, pointing up to the wall near the window where a map of the world was hung printed with bright blue ocean waters.
“I enjoy reading too, and I could always use someone handy with a map.”
“But there is something you should know about me.” Tibearius hung his head low.
“Oh? And what is that?”
“I’m really quiet. More so than all the other bears.”
“Really? Well then, I think we’ll get along just fine, Tibearius.” She leaned down and whispered in his ear, “I am quiet too.”
Tibearius was overjoyed. He had himself a home. He waved to the other animals. “Goodbye! Goodbye everyone!” The wise old owl gave him a wink, and one of the monkeys returned his wave.
It had ended up being a very special day after all.