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Book Review

This talking-animal adventure book by Arthur Scott Bailey is one in the "Sleepy-Time Tales" series and was originally published by Grossett and Dunlap Publishers. In addition to appearing as a stand-alone book, it now appears with some of Bailey's other animal stories in a volume called Sleepy-Time Tales.

The Tale of Cuffy Bear is written for kids ages 5 to 11. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Cuffy is a bear cub who lives with his family in a fine, solid cave in the side of Blue Mountain. While Cuffy is not a bad bear at heart, his propensity for getting into trouble often concerns his parents. This tale takes Cuffy and his family through a year of life.

As soon as the bears wake up from hibernation, Cuffy succumbs to his youthful curiosity. In his efforts to experience new things, Cuffy has painful run-ins with a porcupine, hornets and an angry mother eagle because he eats her eggs. He frequently comes home sore and often in tears.

One day Cuffy meets another bear cub who tries to teach him how to box. Cuffy returns home with his best trousers torn and muddy. Cuffy samples new foods such as pig and Farmer Green's lunch of bread, doughnuts and custard pie. He loves the baked beans most of all, until the pot gets stuck on his nose and Mrs. Bear has to remove it.

Cuffy also discovers sweet boiling maple sugar, on which he burns his paws. When the little bear gets trapped on a sheet of ice in the lake, his father pushes him in so he'll learn to swim. The family survives a forest fire before growing tired and hibernating once more.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Cuffy's parents try to steer him in the right direction and teach him to make wise choices. They laugh with him or comfort him after his mishaps. Cuffy's father pushes him into the water so the cub will realize he can swim. Cuffy's parents sometimes cuff him for hitting his sister.


Cuffy got his name for the way he frequently cuffed his younger sister, Silkie, with his paws and made her cry. When a cub named Pete tries to teach Cuffy to box, he hits Cuffy hard enough to make him cry and groan. The violence isn't graphic, and Cuffy learns that hitting isn't appropriate behavior.



Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • How did Cuffy get his name?
  • Why do you think he hits his sister?

  • What are some of Cuffy's other bad decisions?

  • What happens to him when he makes those choices?
  • Why do parents give kids rules about where they can and can't go or what they should and shouldn't do?

  • What are some good things and bad things about being curious?

  • What are some ways you can learn about the world around you without breaking rules or putting yourself in danger as Cuffy did?

Additional Comments/Notes

This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews

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