top of page

It’s A Bear!!!



As a kid, did you ever go on an adventure looking for something? Did you find it, and was it what you expected?


In his much-loved children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” Michael Rosen brings the magic of childhood adventures to life, and it’s one of our favorite books here at Turning Pages!


Why does this book ring so true for all its readers, over so many years? What makes it so good? At its core, it’s a fun, incredibly well crafted story, and we believe it comes down to three things: the plot, the performance, and language learning.


Plot


First, there’s the undeniable charm of a whole family—including even the youngest baby, sitting on her father’s shoulders—traipsing through the woods in search of a bear. As they continue to search and run into obstacles they must overcome, the suspense builds.


But what do they do when they finally find the much anticipated bear? It’s definitely not what they expect, that’s for sure! Chaos ensues. After a single glimpse of the bear, the family flees without a backward look, retracing their difficult journey there. As the audience, we’re left laughing at the very end by the image of the terrified family hiding under their covers vowing to never hunt for bears again.


Within this humorous narrative, there’s smaller details that make it truly stand out, too. The story opens itself up to the reader’s imagination, keeping us entertained. How can the family possibly run faster than a bear? How does the bear feel as it trudges back to its cave, its claws empty?


On top of that, the story teaches life lessons that are valuable especially for our youngest readers. When the family encounters difficult terrain, what do they do? They don’t back away. They’re able to overcome their fears by keeping the bigger goal—however silly it might be!—in sight. It’s in this playful, endearing way that the story makes a lasting impression on all those who hear it, by showing us the power of perseverance in a memorable tale.


Performance


Speaking of hearing the story, have you heard Michael Rosen read it out loud? If not, you’re definitely missing out! Everything, from his voice to his mannerisms, adds even more character.


The sound effects, or onomatopoeia, that accompany the family’s journey bring it to life. We can picture everyone squelching through thick mud, and we can really hear the stumble-trip of clumsy feet breaking through branches on the forest floor. We’re treated to such vivid scenes in this story, and no one acts them and their sounds out better than Michael Rosen himself.


The repetition of the language adds a similar musical effect to the story. The opening lines “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one,” appear every other page, almost as if being sung aloud. Repeating the same lines again and again, builds an even greater sense of anticipation, by making the journey seem long and arduous. Little could we know that the payoff would be so big!


Language Learning


The repetition in the story serves another clever purpose, too. Once kids get in the habit of listening to the same lines throughout the story—and maybe even repeating them—it becomes easier for them to learn those words as well, thus supporting the development of their vocabulary. Learning new words shouldn’t be a boring task, and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” makes it anything but.


The impressionistic, vibrant pictures on each page can also enthrall its audience in additional ways. Readers are invited to explore the scenes, like the cold, blue river water that the family swims through, and the shadowy cave where the bear ultimately lurks, just to name a few. The family becomes real to us, too—look at the determination on their faces as they approach the dark forest, and their surprise and fear while creeping through the cave! For young readers who might still be learning the words in the story, these detailed pictures can go a long way in keeping them interested, and encourage them to continue learning.


When the story finally comes to a close, its memorable and lively storyline can easily be adapted to classroom activities so that the fun never ends! Hands-on activities based on the events in the story will help further strengthen kids’ memories of the new words and nurture their love of reading.


What might the family go looking for next, and what new terrain do they cross? A class reenactment, using sound effects and all? Yes, please!




28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page