Thirty-five years after their first groundbreaking collaboration, the creators of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? reunite to address the important topic of animal conservation. A Bald Eagle soars, a Spider Monkey swings, a Macaroni Penguin struts, and a Red Wolf sneaks through Bill Martin Jr.'s rhythmic text and Eric Carle's vibrant images, and all are watched over by our best hope for the futurea dreaming child.
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? is a 2004 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year.
About the Author
Bill Martin, Jr. (1916–2004) was an elementary-school principal, teacher, writer, and poet. His more than 300 books, among them the bestselling classics Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?; Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?; and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, are a testament to his ability to speak directly to children. Martin held a doctoral degree in early childhood education. Born in Kansas, he worked as an elementary-school principal in Chicago before moving to New York City, where he worked in publishing developing innovative reading programs for schools. After several years, he devoted himself full-time to writing his children's books. He lived in New York until 1993, when he moved to Texas. He lived in the east Texas woods, near the town of Commerce, until he passed away in 2004.
Eric Carle is one of America's leading children's book illustrators. In addition to the classic children's books he created with Bill Martin, Jr., he is author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Reading Group Guide
The art in all the Bear books is unique and done in the traditional Eric Carle collage method. Have children replicate such art by painting white tissue paper with various bold colors and textures. Once dry, have them cut the paper into various images of choice to create a collage-style work of art.
Create Your Own Book
Popular zoo animals are featured in Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Ask children to describe other animals found at a zoo (giraffe, gorilla, tiger). Create your own version of the book. Children can work in pairs or individually. Distribute any size piece of oaktag to each group and have them place their artwork in the center of the oaktag. Then cut out a rectangular piece of paper or oaktag to cover the art. Adhere it at the top creating a flap to cover the art. Draw black lines on the flap making each cover look like a cage in the zoo. The text should be written above and below the flap. For example: Gorilla, gorilla what do you hear? I hear a tiger roaring at me. Lift the flap and there is a caged tiger!
The last page of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? portrays children dancing with animal masks. Have children create their own animal masks using any medium of choice, such as paper plates, construction paper, etc. Have children select animals from any of the Bear books. When the masks are finished, the children can march in an animal parade acting out each animal's sound and/or action (a mule deer running, etc.).
What Do You See?
After reading all the Bear books, reread the last line in Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?: "Dreaming Child, Dreaming Child, what do you see?" Ask the children what they see in their dreams. Continue the book by having each child complete the sentence: I see ________.
Adopt an Endangered Animal
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? addresses the issue of endangered species and highlights ten out of five thousand possible animals in jeopardy. Discuss the concept of an endangered animal: what it means to be endangered; what should be done; what we can do as a community; the importance of preserving all living things. Decide upon a course of action that would draw awareness to such an issue. One activity might be to adopt an endangered animal.
The Five Senses
The Bear books highlight two out of the five sensessight and sound. Use these books to launch a lesson on the five senses, in particular taste, touch, and smell. Challenge children to write (or recite) what the various animals would eat, feel, and smell. For example, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You Eat? would highlight what each of the native North American animals might consume. Have fun adding adjectives to describe the food!
The animals in each Bear book appear in a particular sequence. Challenge children to remember the order of appearance of each animal. Have the children draw each animal character. Children may want to work in pairs, as there are ten animals per book. Once the art is completed, then begin by reading the first sentence of the book and have each animal pair stand when appropriate. See if they can remember the correct order for each cast of animal characters!
Brown Bear's Birthday Party!
Celebrate Brown Bear's 40th anniversary by throwing a bear birthday party. Have children bring their favorite bear to the party or create papier-mâché replicas of any of the animals found in the Bear books. Read the Bear books, act them out to music, eat, play games, and enjoy the celebration!