Winter is here, and it is time to feel cozy, just like bears. I love bears and bear stories. Children do too. While stories about animals are always popular, bear stories are favorites, year after year. I’ve posted about these books before, and added new books.
Here are my favorite bear books:
There are old ones and new ones, stories to make you laugh, stories of history, books with rhyming, adventure, and doing the right thing. There are books that are just good. They make me want to read them again, and I do.
Finding Winnie, by Lindsay Mattick
This is the true story of Winnie the Pooh, the bear that became famous in WWI before he went to the London zoo. It is captivating, with real photos and beautiful illustrations. The reader is immediately drawn to the soldier Harry Colebourn on the train in Canada to fight in the war, and finding a bear cub.
Those Pesky Rabbits, by Ciara Flood
The bear lives alone, and suddenly a family of rabbits move in next door. He is annoyed at his unwanted new neighbors, despite their many efforts to be friendly. Humor and persistence win over a grumpy old bear who finally finds friends.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr.
The rhythm and verse of the text, combined with the excitement of what animal and color will appear next, has made this book a classic. Children never tire of this book. They look forward to page after page with anticipation. It was Eric Carle’s debut as an illustrator of children’s books.
Harold Loves His Woolly Hat, by Vern Kousky
Harold loves his striped woolly hat. He wears it everywhere. When a crow whisks the hat off his head and high up into a nest, Harold doesn’t feel so special anymore. He tries everything to get it back but alas, the crow will not budge. Turns out that the hat has a new special purpose: keeping three baby crows warm. Harold finds a way to do the right thing. It doesn’t matter what you have, it’s who you are that matters.
Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson
One by one, a host of different animals creep into bear’s lair to escape the cold winter weather. As they tweet and they twitter, chat and titter… bear snores on. The animals have a party, but nothing wakes up bear until the end. The rhyming text and the repeated chant of ‘bear snores on’ is delightful.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
The repeated chant of “We’re going on a bear hunt” follows five children and their dog as they travel through grass, river, mud, a snowstorm, and a forest before arriving at the bear’s cave. And then, they have to go back through the same obstacles, with the bear chasing them. Repetition, excitement, and of course a bear, make this book a winner.
Blueberries For Sal, by Robert McCloskey
The year was 1948. Sal and her mother go blueberry picking. On the other side of the hill, a bear cub and his mother also go searching for blueberries. Sal and the bear cub are much the same, gobbling up blueberries and looking for adventure. When each crosses over to the other side of the hill, Sal is following mama bear, and the cub is following Sal’s mama. The story is captivating for children.
Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins
This book is hilarious. Children laugh hard. Adults laugh harder. Bruce is a grumpy old bear who is trying to cook goose eggs. Unfortunately for him, the eggs hatch, and the goslings immediately “know” Bruce is their mama. Despite his many efforts to send the goslings on their way and prove he is not their mother, he is unsuccessful. The trials and tribulations Bruce goes through rate a 10 on the laugh-o-meter.
Every Autumn Comes the Bear, by Jim Arnosky
The glorious illustrations pull in the reader to the ritual of the bear’s hibernation. From autumn through winter, the changes of the season are perfectly illustrated, along with a simple, predictable, and well written text. I love this book!
A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond
First let me say that I read Paddington Bear books to my children. Here are their two favorites, which have probably been read fifty times each. I read these to my preschoolers.
I had the good fortune to see the Paddington Bear and Michael Bond exhibit in 2018 at the Eric Carle Museum. The collection of bears was charming. And, so was the original artwork.
Happy reading. Bear books are the best!