Author: Karma Wilson Illustrator:Jane Chapman
Age Level: 3-6
Publishers: Margaret K McElderry Books (Imprint of Simon Schuster Children’s Publishing)
With the changes in weather, we’ve been reading a collection of books with the central theme of animals in winter. Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On is perfect as a read aloud for young children. The plot of the story draws the children in, and the rhyming text is easy for them to follow along.
On a cold night as the snowstorm rages outside, Bear snores on in his cave. The first guest, ‘an itty bitty mouse’ builds a fire with ‘wee twigs’. The bear sleeps through the noise of the crackling pip-pops. A rabbit sees the fire and comes in seeking shelter. They make more noise popping corn and brewing tea.
One by one, several animals drop into the cave seeking shelter. A badger, followed by a gopher, a mole, a raven, and a wren all gather around the fire. Soon they have a party going as they chitter and chatter and make some stew. The bear sleeps through the din they make. All this changes when the mouse sprinkles pepper into the stew and a fleck floats in the air to tickle the bear’s nose. The bear wakes up with a loud sneeze that makes the others scamper away.
My children both loved the fact that the bear was growling because he was sad to have missed all the fun. It made it less scary for them that he wasn’t angry. Their favorite character in the book is the mouse who ‘saved’ the party and made the bear feel better. There is a lesson in there for all of us about making best of the situation!
The illustrations are fantastic. My youngest is drawn to the page where the bear wakes up and the animals scatter with fright. That mole in the kettle is a stroke of genius My kids also noticed the change in the font size on this page. There is a wide variety of vocabulary and I ‘had’ to read it with all the modulation I can drum up! The cave is warm and inviting and the page with the animals in silhouette just captures the spirit of the party.
This was an excellent book to introduce the kids to ‘hibernation’ and why animals hibernate.
Here’s a really nice puppet show of the book Bear Snores On: