Picture Book Thursday: Bears
Written by Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrated by D.B. Johnson
Houghton Mifflin Company
Age Range 7-10 years
Lions and tigers and…OK, so not so much the lions and tigers but do we have the bears covered! Picture Book Thursday is here and with it a veritable library of bear books and teaching activities. Read on. . .
Old Bear is sound asleep and dreaming his way through the seasons. Giant pink flowers and blueberry rains are just some of his imaginative dreams. This story works as a gentle reminder to children that we sometimes dream when we’re asleep. (I read this book after sharing Jamberry and my students loved them both.)
Bear Feels Scared
I love doing a Karma Wilson author study with my students and I now have one more book to add to the selection. Jane Chapman’s furry woodland creatures are so cute and huggable, you’ll find yourself saying, “Awww” as they set out to find a very lost and very scared bear. And your students will have fun with the refrain, “And the bear feels scared…”
On her Web site, Karma Wilson also provides some fun teaching activities to "help the stories come alive."
I have to say, Daniel Pinkwater and D.B. Johnson make quite the team. Mr. Johnson’s illustrations fit so nicely with the text. He still provides all the flair of the Henry books, but toned down to focus on Mr. Pinkwater’s story. I think the following two lines sum up the book, leaving readers young and old with a feeling of empowerment. “It doesn’t look like any of those things to us,” said the two fine, proper gentlemen. “It doesn’t have to,” said the bear. “It is MY picture.” (Be sure to open the book jacket and share with your listeners.)
This book is like a fun PBS documentary in picture book form. It’s chock full of interesting illustrations and facts, and enough onomatopoeia to make you feel you can hear all of the arctic sounds. I had no idea that polar bears would eat snow to keep from overheating or that they could smell prey 10 miles away. The list in the back of the book provides a number of organizations that are working to help the environment.
For some science activities related to the book, visit author Brenda Z. Guiberson's Learning Center.
Use any of these bears to create a shoebox diorama. Use Styrofoam “ice” to create the arctic Ice Bears' home or blue Play-Doh to create Old Bear's blueberry rain dream. Find a local business to display the artwork and be sure to include some literature on how people can help bears and the environment.