Four Bears in a Box

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Original sketches by Bob Denver that he created for for this story written by his wife Dreama for their son Colin.


Ashley Belote

Four Bears in a Box by Dreama Denver illustrated by Ashley Belote copyright ©2020 Dreama Denver All rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents, except where noted otherwise, are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other resemblance to actual people, places or events is entirely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any other form or for any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage system, without written permission from Headline Books. To order additional copies of this book, or for book publishing information, or to contact the author: Headline Kids P. O. Box 52 Terra Alta, WV 26764 Email: Lucas Kelly—Design/Layout Published by Headline Books Headline Kids is an imprint of Headline Books ISBN-13: 9781951556044

Library of Congress Control Number: 2019952962


This book is dedicated to those of you who get lost in the beauty of imagination.


“We’ve nothing to do,” said the three little bears while moping around on their three little chairs. We’ve ridden our bicycles, played with our trains, Skateboards, kaleidoscopes, pinwheels and planes. We’ve eaten our lunch; we’ve played in the yard. Finding something to do is really quite hard.


“I’ve got it!” said Clyde, “Two of us could go hide!” But the other two bears shook their heads side to side.

Then Sadie chimed in, “We could go for a swim!” But the other two shivered and said, “Let’s stay in.”


“I know what we could do,” said the youngest bear Boo, “Let’s go ask our mom!” and away they all flew.


They raced down the hallway with three noses twitchin’. They knew they’d find Mom hard at work in the kitchen.

She’s baking their favorites and they squealed with delight! They “bear-ly” could wait until later tonight.

A friend could sleep over and share all their fun when their rooms had been cleaned and their chores had been done. And that’s when they knew... THEY HAD SOMETHING TO DO! 8




den. He’d clean all the bookshelves for Mama and

Grabbing the ladder, Clyde ran to the


Boo wanted to help, so he started to YELP – “Here I am, way down here! Please let me help!

and He’d run help Sadie dry wash and dishes and then feed the he cat and t the dog and fishes.

h high since Boo couldn’t reac st he was the smalle help reaching He needed some e tallest. shelves that wer ach him to Clyde said he’d te er. stand on the ladd

It’s really quite easy…“Hey, Boo, what’s the matter?”


Up on the top Boo began feeling queasy. He teetered and tottered and felt quite uneasy.


He picked himself up and started to laugh. Soon his mother and brother and sister joined in. Boo wanted to try it again and again.

He looked left and then right And then fell with a crash


“No, No,” said his mother, “that’s all for today. You’ve worked very hard, now it’s time to go play.


I promised a treat, a reward, a surprise. So stay right behind me; Don’t open your eyes.� Six little feet followed close behind Mother. Six little hands held on tight to each other.


Then Mama said, “STOP!� and they stopped just in time to hear the garage door lift up from behind.


They turned. There was Dee, their very best friend. They stuck with each other through thick and through thin. “Dee’s here,” Mama said, “to share in the fun. She’s the treat that I promised for a job so well done. But that isn’t all. There’s another surprise. Explore the garage where the secret resides.”



Four bears tiptoed in, not quite sure what they’d find. They peeked and saw what Mama left behind.

Dee turned on the lights and they knew right away there was no need to fret. What an awesome display!


A rocket ship! A race car! A yellow submarine... A throne for a queen or even a king!

A fast train! A castle! A brown cardboard box can be anything!!


It was big–really big–they could all fit inside. “What fun! Let’s go try it!” said Sadie and Clyde. Four bears in a box...No, a boat! No, a plane! They scampered around their imagined terrain. They climbed up a rope on the side of the box, which became a steep cliff filled with sharp, jagged rocks.



Then the box was transformed, turning into a skiff. “I smell the salt air,� Sadie said as she sniffed. They sailed the calm seas, a vast ocean of blue then, like magic, the box was a hot air balloon. As they flew through the sky, they looked down on an island. A man in a red shirt waved back at them, smiling.



They TOPPLED and TEETERED and TOSSED in the box. They TUMBLED through space like four astronauts.


They CHUCKLED and CHORTLED and GIGGLED and SNICKERED ‘til somebody sneezed and the spacecraft lights flickered. AAAAAAAAAH-CHOOOOOO! Exclaimed Boo, caught off guard by the impact. He shot to the top of the box, which was jam-packed.



Boo flew out first because he was the smallest, Clyde flew out last because he was the tallest. Somewhere in between them came Dee and then Sadie, trying their best to appear little ladies. Boy! This was fun! What a great game to play! They would never forget a fun day like today.



So . . . if you decide you have nothing to do, think about Sadie, Clyde, Dee and Boo. Fun can be found in all sorts of things. That is the magic that make-believe brings. What an adventure! The thrills never stopped! Four Little Bears in a BROWN CARDBOARD BOX!


The Story Behind the Story

The circle of life, described beautifully in the animated film The Lion King, sometimes takes us back to familiar, but forgotten places where we’re reminded that circles are uninterrupted, endless and complete, with no beginning or end. When we stand in the center of the circle of our life, we’re equidistance from everything around us. For me, that’s a comforting thought. My memoir, “Gilligan’s Dreams” tells our story, but for those of you who haven’t read it - for almost thirty years I was married to Bob Denver, the talented comedic actor who played Maynard G. Krebs on “Dobie Gillis” and Gilligan on the hugely successful TV series “Gilligan’s Island “. Together we brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. At the age of two, our son was diagnosed with severe autism and for the next 20 years until my husband’s death, Bob and I provided the 24/7/365 care he required. Obviously, our story is much more involved than this, but it does lay the groundwork for how this book came to be. Engaging Colin was a challenge. We were forced to become master motivators to pique his interest in any activity whatsoever - except story time. From the day we began reading to him, it was the be all and end all for Colin. His absolute favorite books? Any and everything written by Dr. Seuss. I read every Dr. Seuss book in existence thousands of times, and since Bob and I were both actors, we committed to every character in every story. We used different voices, sometimes different accents and when it brought the story to life, we employed parent-created sound effects, a talent that came very naturally to Bob. ACTION words were huge in Colin’s world, so we focused on those words to bring the story to life for him. Words like SPLAT, SPLASH, KABOOM and KAPUT could have our often unhappy, frustrated son rolling on the floor with laughter. One day in 1998, Bob walked into the kitchen with a twinkle in his eye. “Honey”, he said, “I think you should write a children’s book.” Me: “A children’s book?!? Seriously?” Bob: “You’ve read enough of them. You’ve got the rhyme thing down. Why not?” Me: “I guess it couldn’t hurt to give it a try, but I’d need to come up with a clever premise, something little ones would like.” Bob: “I already have the title! I think you should call it “Four Bears in a Bag”. Me: (confused): “What in the world would four bears be doing in a bag?” Bob (grinning from ear to ear): “That’s for you to figure out!” Challenge accepted! After months of thinking in rhyme, dreaming in rhyme, basically, living and breathing in rhyme, Four Bears in a Bag was born. I had written my first children’s book, but as sometimes happens, life got in the way and the bears were put away and forgotten. Fast forward to the present - I’m spring-cleaning, going through old files when I open a drawer to find a manila envelope. Curious, with no clear recollection of what might be in it, I peek inside to find the typewritten pages of the story Bob inspired me to write all those years ago! Not only were the pages there, but Bob’s pencil sketches of how he envisioned the bears were tucked away between the title page and the beginning of the story. The circle of life, moving me to a forgotten memory, showing me once again that I’m never far from Bob and the life we created together, except here was something Bob and I had started, but never completed. I remembered Bob’s enthusiasm at the thought of seeing the bears come to life in a children’s book. I remembered his total belief that I could do anything I set my mind to and knew I had to complete this part of my life’s circle. However, decades later the world is very different and a couple of changes were necessary. Primarily, the book’s title. Given that kids today have very little exposure to brown paper bags, we decided to put the bears in a brown cardboard box. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, if your kid is anything like mine, the box is far more intriguing than whatever’s inside. So, in memory of the man who believed in me 100%, the man who showed me that love and life can be exhilarating, exasperating, magical, messy, heartwarming and heartbreaking, I’m breathing life into the bears once again. It might have taken me a couple of decades to circle back, and I might have been encouraged to relocate the bears to a box, but the spirit of our original concept is exactly the same. So, Darlin’, with love and four bear hugs, this one’s for you!

Original sketches by Bob Denver that he created for for this story written by his wife Dreama for their son Colin.

“I cherished being on our three hour tour with my fellow castaway Bob Denver on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ and I really love the way his wife Dreama Denver has brought Bob’s children’s book idea to life! Four Bears In A Box is a treat for all the ‘little buddies’ that you hold dear. I love you, Dreama!” Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from the TV classic “Gilligan’s Island” “A wonderful story filled with joy and surprises, both your child and the one who lives inside you will love this funny, sweet tale. I was smiling after I read it. homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys “Dreama’s Bears tell their story in a lyrical “What a delight to read Dreama rhyme capturing the fun, love, and spirit that Denver’s charming story of four cute cubs Bob envisioned. Four Bears in a Box is a as they try to find something to do on a long children’s book to be treasured for generations.” day. The rhythm and rhymes tell the Dwayne Hickman, star of TV classic delightful tale along with Disneyesque “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” illustrations to enchant young readers and their parents. Sparked by her husband Bob the book holds a special Significance and is a joy for all!” Kathy Garver star of TV classic “Family Affair”

Award-winning author and illustrator, Ashley Belote, is a summa cum laude graduate of Alderson Broaddus College with a B.F.A in visual art with a minor in creative writing. After two semesters of graduate work at West Virginia University she continued her graduate study through the Simmons College satellite graduate program at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. She holds a Masters in Arts Administration through the University of Kentucky and is a graduate of Don Bluth University. Ashley is also a portrait artist, muralist and art instructor. For more information visit


Dreama Denver was married for three decades to TV icon Bob Denver, known to millions worldwide as the star of the television classic “Gilligan’s Island.” The two met when they were cast opposite one another in a theater production, and toured the country for many years performing together. An author and speaker, Dreama keeps Bob’s legacy alive via her work with The Denver Foundation, supporting special needs children and U.S. veterans. This is her first children’s book. Visit to learn more.

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