Story times with books and activities help children develop early literacy skills such as vocabulary, print motivation and narrative skills. A story time theme aids in the development of their thinking skills and adds to their general knowledge.
These recently published books would be great additions to a story time collection’s books about bears. They will work well as read-alouds for preschoolers through first graders.
Books about Bears for Young Children
In Bear Flies High (978-1-59990-386-6, c2009), Michael Rosen relates the story of a bear who wishes he could fly like the birds he watches at the beach. When four children hear about his dream, they invite him to come on a journey that ends at an amusement park. The roller coaster ride does indeed feel like flying. The rhythmic text will appeal to the younger set, and Adrian Reynolds’ bright and well-composed watercolors will have wide appeal for all ages.
Suzanne Bloom’s What About Bear? (978-1-59078-528-7, c2010) is another book about bears and friendship. Bear and Goose are enjoying each other’s company when Little Fox arrives on the scene. But Little Fox wants to play with Goose and not Bear. Goose will not allow Bear to be left out, and the trio learns that three can play together as well as two. Bloom’s illustrations are rendered in pastels in visual textures that children will appreciate.
The children in Kathy-jo Wargin’s humorous Scare a Bear (978-1-58536-430-5, c2010) try to get a bear to leave the house. They consider banging pots and pans, rattling cans, shouting and yelling, until the bear finally runs away. Children will like to read this story over and over again, as they explore the details in John Bendall-Brunello’s illustrations.
The subject of hibernation is introduced in Hibernation Station (978-1-4169-3788-3, c2010) by Michelle Meadows. Although this is a fantasy, children will learn which animals hibernate. All wearing their pajamas, the bears, skunks, hedgehogs, frogs, mice, snakes, groundhogs, chipmunks and other animals ride the hibernation train to hibernation station. In rhyming text, the story is told of the problems they have along the way, such as overcrowding and a lack of pillows. Illustrator Kurt Cyrus shows the change from autumn to winter. Cyrus illustrates the train as hollow logs and the track as tree branches. This book could be used for story times about the seasons, too.
Another book about hibernation is No (978-0-88899-991-7, c2010), written in Spanish by Claudia Rueda and translated by Elisa Amado. The illustrations are by the author. Little bear tries to convince his mother that he does not need to hibernate. Finally, he stays outside, but a storm convinces little bear that hibernation might be a good idea.
In Hugless Douglas (978-1-58925-098-7, c2010), David Melling (author and illustrator) depicts a young bear looking for the special hug that he needs. He tries a boulder and then, a tree, but they are inadequate. He even tries to hug a whole herd of sheep. Humorous pictures show the hugs that are not working out. Children will understand Douglas’ problem.
Activities to Supplement the Bear Theme
A craft that would support the bear theme is a cereal box puppet. One that would align with Bear Wants More, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman, would require construction paper and glue to make the bear’s head, and a large clear plastic bag to attach to the bottom of the puppet. As the bear eats, pictures of the food are dropped into the puppet’s mouth.
An action rhyme related to bears is “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around.” The song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” is fun to act out, too.
Folkmanis is a source for high quality bear puppets. Search their web site for puppets and themed book lists. Let the children use the puppets to act out the stories in the books.
Be creative and enjoy yourself as you share this special story time with children!