Bear Books – the Best Ones for Children

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 Onby 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!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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58 Responses to Bear Books – the Best Ones for Children

  1. “We are going on a bear hunt.” I gave this to my grandson just before lock down not knowing how significant this line would be: ” You can’t go under it. You can’t go over it. You have to just go through it.” I hope I have remembered the lines correctly!🙂 Thank you once again Jennie. 🙂

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Wonderful books, Jennie. There is something about bears that is lovable.

    I hope you were able to dig out yesterday. It was a bear of a storm 😏

    • Jennie says:

      Bears will always be lovable to children, and to the reader aloud! It was harder to dig out than we expected. 15″ of fine snow became very compact, not wet, just heavy. We did the end of the driveway in your sideways method. What a storm!

  3. Darlene says:

    What a great collection of bear books. So glad you included Paddington Bear, a timeless classic.

  4. Lovely collection, I have collected teddy bears for a long time, can’t beat a good bear!

  5. That’s a great collection of bear books! Do you have a snow day today?

  6. quiall says:

    I have read and loved a few of those books. But my favourite will always be Winnie the Pooh. I was born in Winnipeg and I identified with him from an early age.

  7. It’s one thing to read about a bear and something totally different when you experience it firsthand!

  8. Ritu says:

    Oh, there Re so many wonderful bear books!

  9. beetleypete says:

    Good recommendations, Jennie. The only ones we bought for our grandson were Winnie The Pooh, and ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’. He has outgrown them now, so they are being saved for his baby sister, when she gets older.
    (Michael Rosen’s father was Harold Rosen, a famous educationalist who had connections with my senior school in London,.where he as a teacher. (Before my time there.) I met him a few times in later life before he died in 2008. But I have never met Michael.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

  10. Great bear books, Jennie.

  11. Great recommends, Jennie! Sharing… ❤ xo

  12. Don Ostertag says:

    I will have to look up Mother Bruce. Thanks for the reviews,Jennie.

  13. One that my kids loved is “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.”

  14. I loved bear books too and bought as many as I could find for my daughter when she was small. Wish I had them all now. But there wouldn’t be room here.

  15. petespringerauthor says:

    I know most of these, Jennie. I have not heard of Mother Bruce, a book that sounds like it would be a ton of fun to read to kids.

  16. I love these books, Jennie. What a wonderful collection! You know, it’s even a wonder sometimes i enjoy reading children’s books too. I think it helps me imagine their world and find stories to tell them. My young nephew is a great lover of storytelling and would greatly enjoy these. Thanks for sharing, dear.

  17. TanGental says:

    You know where I’d gravitate! I’d also endorse Pooh too. A trip to Ashdown Forest to poohstick is an annual treat.

  18. srbottch says:

    Oh, wow, what a pleasure to once again see the cover of ‘Blueberries for Sal’, a reading fav!

  19. sjhigbee says:

    What a wonderful selection of bear books, Jennie. I know ‘We’re Going On a Bear Hunt’ which I endlessly recited to the two older grandchildren and I look forward to getting the chance to read to little Eliza when I’m better. And dear old Paddington – also a solid favourite. But my alltime favourite bear is Winnie the Pooh and I regularly used to read the stories to my Year 4 and 5 classes, who loved the humour. Thank you for sharing and rekindling such joyful memories:)).

  20. Jim Borden says:

    I can remember reading Brown Bear, Blueberries for Sal (a personal favorite), and Every Autum (as I recall it has some amazing artwork) to our children when they were younger… I never realized how popular bears are!

  21. Awww. Wonderful bear books, Jennie, many of which I’ve read. Mother Bruce joined my library after reading about it on your blog! And Hotel Bruce came in right after we read the first. 🙂 ❤

  22. HI Jennie, these all sound wonderful. I love, love Paddington. Do you know Rupert the Bear. He was a great favourite of mine when I was a little older. I have a vintage collection of Rupert books.

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