An Old Favorite:
Title: Bear Snores On
Author: Karma Wilson
Illustrator: Jane Chapman
Gist: "In a cave in the woods, in his deep, dark lair, through the long, cold winter sleeps a great brown bear."
- A sleeping bear "snores" or sleeps "on" as the title implies all the while animals in the forest, who do not hibernate, take shelter in his cave. They gather around a cozy campfire to eat and keep warm, having a wonderful time 'til they wake him up in a rather unusual way.
Why I LOVE It:
- This book is one of a collection of "bear books" from this author. I have collected them all! I like books that have addditional stories in a series because my students often say "Read it again! Read it again!" because they enjoy the book so much. These adorable bear books are a favorite of theirs and having a collection gives me a variety of books to read. (Bear Stays Up for Christmas, Bear Wants More, Bear's New Friend, Bear Feels Sick, and Bear Feels Scared are her other bear books. ) You can see them all on her amazon author page.
- The main character is a brown bear and that fits in perfectly with my "hibernating bear theme" that continues through January and is celebrated with a Winnie the Pooh pajama party day as we are now studying the letter P as well.
- The text is rhyming. The lyrical verse is fun to read and my Y5's enjoy listening to it. Rhyming is one of my report card standards so I especially enjoy the teachable moments reading a rhyming book presents. I will read a sentence and then pause for my students to fill in the appropriate rhyming word. Even if they don't get the exact one the author has in mind (which they almost always do) they are still thinking of other rhyming words! Karma Wilson says that she "loves to write in rhyme because she thinks that well written rhyme naturally teaches children to expand their vocabulary and love books and reading." I agree.
- Jane Chapman is one of my favorite illustrators and her animals are absolutely adorable. They dance and prance on the page and seem to come to life. My students also find them quite fascinating. The pictures are great for showing the various emotions of the animal characters. They are happy and carefree, then they wake the bear and are frightened, they are also sympathetic and caring, and finally extremely tired and pooped out after all of their frolicking. Jane portrays all of these beautifully.
Story Telling Tips:
- As stated above, pause while reading so that your students can fill in the rhyming word. As a rhyming lesson, after you have read the story, write the rhyming words on the board and have the children think of more words that rhyme.
- I scan the pages of the book that have the animal characters on them, laminate and cut them out and then put a piece of scraatchy Velcro or magnet strip on the back. I pass these out to my students and when we come to that character in the story they put it on my flannel or white board. After I get done reading I mix up the animals and we see if we can put them in the proper order in which they first appeared in the story.
- I also use these animals in a word identification activity. I place them in a vertical line and then say the animals name. I ask the children what letter they think the animal's name begins with and then I write it on the board. When we get all of their names on the board then we alphabetize their names writing them in numerical order going reviewing ordinal numbers. If you have older students, pass the animals out to the students and see if they can place the animal next to their correct name. You could add these animal names to your word wall.
- Many of these animals are easily found as stuffed animals at garage sales. Simply slit open the bottom portion of the animal. Take the stuffing out of the arms and body, leaving the head stuffed and you'll have an "instant" puppet to use while telling the story, or give to your students to help you tell the story with.
- Using my clipart animals, print off a set of animals, laminate and cut them out. Attach to Popsicle sticks with a hot glue gun or use glue dots. Pass them out to your students so that each child has an animal. When you come to the page where that animal is featured, have those students raise and wave their Popsicle stick, and if they can think of an animal noise, pretend to be that animal.
- Allow children to wear a paper plate animal bear mask. Have them roll up in blankets and pretend to be hibernating bears. Teacher will designate when she wants them to sneeze and wake up growling and cranky pretending to be the bear in the story. To "sooth" my crabby bears I pass out teddy grahams. If you get the multi-colored box it has 3 shades of brown bears which are great for a sorting or patterning math activity. Dunking these bears in a bit of honey is also a delicious snack. I'm always surprised that quite a few of my little ones have never tasted honey.
Art Activity: Bear paper plate mask.
Skill Sheets: I've designed some math extensions and included a graphing sheet as well as an animal addition exercise + several language arts skill sheets to help with reading, writing and alphabetizing! Enjoy. Click on the link to view/print. Skill sheets
Magic Trick: I use my change bag and show my students that it is empty. I give one of them a small brown bear and they drop him in the bag. Everyone says: "Go hibernate." So that word continues to become part of their vocabulary, I have them repeat it 3 times. We take a peek to make sure he is sleeping and all pretend to snore like the bear in the story. Then we say: "Wake up! It's springtime." I punch out the bag to show them that the bear has indeed awoke and left the cave! Where do you think he went? He's hungry of course; so he went to go look for food.
Visit Karma Wilson's website and check out her other great books. I always check to see if the authors I feature have websites and then I'll provide a link to them. I was pleased to find out that Karma also has some cute ideas for teachers/parents to do with her books. Click on the link to check them out. They include some for Bear Snores On! Ideas
Our illustrator, Jane Chapman, one of my all-time favorites, does not have her own website, but can be contacted via this site.
January is the perfect month to curl up with a good book! I hope you enjoy some snuggle time with your favorite cub(s).
Be sure to scroll down & check out our FREE easy reader for this month!