Village School Children’s Book of the Month: ‘Old Bear’


Village School first-second grade teacher
Published: 5/13/2020 2:18:14 PM
Modified: 5/13/2020 2:18:05 PM

There have been many mornings during this strange spring season that I have woken up thinking I’m in the middle of dream. Not just because of the unique situation we’re all in during this time of quarantine, but because each day’s weather has shifted so casually from one extreme to the next. A sunny, warm day quietly morphs overnight into a morning blanketed with a soft covering of snow. This calls to mind a book I enjoy sharing with my first-and second-grade class when we study the seasons. Kevin Henkes’ beautifully illustrated book ”Old Bear.”

This book explores seasons from the interesting perspective of a hibernating brown bear. In the book, Old Bear settles into his winter hibernation as the snow begins falling. During his deep sleep he begins dreaming of the seasons. In his dream, Old Bear returns to his time as a cub. Much like a small child’s experience of the world, everything seems bigger, more colorful, and full of wonder. As Old Bear dreams through each of the seasons certain details stand out for him in whimsical ways. He naps in a giant tulip during spring and catches blueberries falling like rain from the summer sky.

Old bear continues to dream through the shifting seasons. The colors of fall permeate his dream completely. During the winter portion of his dream the bright, shimmering cold seems to last forever. When he finally wakes, Old Bear steps out of his den and is surprised by the world waiting outside.

Henkes’ pastel-toned illustrations are soft inviting landscapes that draw readers in to look carefully in order to discover all the details hidden within. The simple yet beautiful text makes this book a great read aloud for young children, ages three to eight. Old Bear’s gentle, childlike wonder encourages us to look at the world a little closer and notice the subtle changes that happen from season to season.

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