When my daughter was three, she fell in love with Don Freeman’s Corduroy. I could recite every word of that book in my sleep, and when I just couldn’t read it one more time, she listened contentedly to the audiobook version over and over again. There is no denying there's something special about bears, especially teddy bears. And a beloved bear can be a wonderful way to encourage children to spend more time reading aloud.
With this in mind, we're sharing 12 of our favorite bear-themed picture books for your children to read to their bears. The list includes well-known classics that you might just remember from your own childhood, and some newer titles too. Whichever you choose, they’re all bear-y good!
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is one of the very first books I bought as a new parent. Featuring a fabulous chant that is loved around the world, it’s a great book for pre-readers to "read" along with you.
2. Also featuring a fabulous chant, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen engages children through repetition, fun sound effects, and beautiful illustrations.
3. One of my all-time favorite stories, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood features a clever little mouse who will go to any length to keep his freshly-picked, red, ripe strawberry away from a very big, hungry bear.
4. In a case of mistaken identity, Eddie discovers that his teddy has mysteriously grown to be too big to cuddle in Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough. Whatever has happened to Eddie’s teddy?
5. In Peace at Last by Jill Murphy, poor Mr Bear simply cannot find somewhere quiet to sleep. Hopefully he'll find some peace at last!
6. The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett is a lovely adaptation of the traditional Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, this time featuring Aloo-ki (an Inuit girl), huskies, an igloo, and a family of polar bears.
7. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson tells the story of a hibernating bear who discovers he is late to the party.
8. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen features a bear whose hat is gone, and he wants it back. Bear’s journey to find his hat is sure to make both children and adults smile.
9. Another terrificly funny read, Goodnight Already! by Jory John is the story of an exhausted bear who needs to sleep, and his rather exuberant neighbor, Duck, whose antics keep poor Bear wide awake.
10. In Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, a bear follows his nose to discover a tea party in the woods --with cookies! But the party host may have something to say about her uninvited guest.
11. The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland features four well-meaning friends who disturb a sleeping bear when they take shelter from the rain in his cave. Will Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep find a way to cheer up the very cranky bear?
12. George In the Dark, by Madeline Valentine, tells the story of George who is very brave — until the lights go out at bedtime. One night George discovers that his teddy is all alone in the dark, right across the bedroom in the scariest, darkest place. George must find out if he's brave enough to rescue his bear.
Once you’re children have finished reading to their teddies, be sure to check out the other fun reading ideas in the Scholastic New Year’s Reading Challenge.
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