Perfect Picture Book Friday: Bear Snores On

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman

You know what we like around our house? BEARS! We like stuffed bears and real bears at the zoo and bears on our pajamas and bears in the bathtub and Italian Bear nella Grande Casa Blu who sniffs us through the TV. We like playing with bear puzzles and hugging giant bears in the toy store and sleeping like bears on cold winter mornings and growling like bears even if we’re looking at ducks.

We are not afraid of bears. In fact, if we saw a bear on the street, we’d invite it in for tea and honey-nuts, without a doubt. And then we’d call Karma Wilson and invite her over for tea and honey-nuts, too, just to thank her for writing such a wondrous tale.

All you experienced moms and dads and teachers and librarians already know about Karma’s Bear books, but for this pretty-new mom and lifetime rhymer, seeing Bear Snores On for the first time a month ago was a revelation. (And I got the board book version, which comes with a snore button — score!) As soon as I read the first few words, I knew I was in love. In fact, since my little guys still don’t fully appreciate the writers’ craft (what’s wrong with them — they’re almost two!), I surreptitiously “ungave” the book to them and brought it back to my desk so I can make googly eyes at it.

I hope you enjoy this addition to the Perfect Picture Book Friday collection. I’m so pleased to bring Karma into the fold!

[heading style=”1″]The Goods[/heading]

Bear Snores On

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman

Written by: Karma Wilson
Illustrated by:  Jane Chapman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 2002)
Genre: Picture Book/Fiction
Ages: 2+
Themes/Topics: Animals, Hibernation, Bear Habitat, Seasons, Friendship, Sharing

Opening and Brief Synopsis:

In a cave in the woods, in his deep, dark lair,
through the long, cold winter sleeps a great brown bear.

Cuddled in a heap, with his eyes shut tight,
he sleeps through the day, he sleeps through the night.

The cold winds howl and the night sounds growl.
But the bear snores on.

The storm may be raging, but Bear is snug in his lair, fast asleep and all alone…that is, until a chilly little mouse pops in to warm his tootsies. But Mouse isn’t the only one looking for shelter, and he’s soon joined by Hare, Badger, Raven and a bunch of other freezing friends attracted by the cozy fire and the promise of honey-nuts, tea, and camaraderie. A good time is had by all until…Bear wakes up!

Bear Snores On is the first in the Bear book series, which to date also includes Bear Wants More, Bear Stays Up, Bear’s New Friend, Bear Feels Sick, Bear Feels Scared, and Bear’s Loose Tooth.

Links to Resources:

  • Karma offers some Bear goodies on her website, including instructions for a bear mask and puppet, a connect-the-dots coloring page, and a seasons activity.
  • School Music Matters has put together a wonderful instrumental music lesson plan that music teachers won’t want to miss.
  • ReadWriteThink provides an excellent and comprehensive K-2 unit plan that teaches the difference between fiction and non-fiction using a variety of bear-themed literature and activities.

Why I Like This Book:  Say this out loud:

An itty-bitty mouse, pitter-pat, tip-toe,
creep-crawls in the cave from the fluff-cold snow.

That’s why I love this book! As a writer of verse, I get a little nutty when I come across such perfect meter and rhyme, and this particular passage makes my heart pitter-pat every time I read it. Then there’s the inventive use of word pairings and the delightful story itself. Many of my favorite PBs are my favorites because of the illustration first and the text second, but this is one of the exceptions. While Jane Chapman’s warm and fuzzy work perfectly captures the mood and the silliness, Karma’s text is the star for me, a story to be read aloud absolutely.

Video Adaptation:
Here’s a snippet of the adaptation offered by Scholastic.

Perfect Picture Book Fridays is a shared weekly event started by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. You can find the entire list of recommended picture books on the Perfect Picture Books page on her blog.

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  1. I can’t get enough of Karma’s books. And if I had to pick a favorite, it would be this one. She really is a Picture Book author who is a huge inspiration to me. Her stories thrill little children and her rhyming skill is enviable! We had to have some Karma in our PPBF selection. Great choice, Renee! You jumped in there before me, though I may bring Pip in one of these weeks!

    1. @ Loni – and you really get your money’s worth with the snore button — it goes on and on and on…

      @ Joanna – She has so many books, we should definitely add more to the list. I haven’t checked out the Pip books yes, but I love penguins…please do bring him in!

  2. OK. First off, a version with a snore button? How awesome is that? 🙂 Second, we love bears at our house, too, and actually get to see them stroll through the yard form time to time 🙂 I too am a fan of Karma’s excellent rhyme and this is a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing it along with these great activities!!!

    1. Wow, you get to see real bears? The writer I co-author the readers with lives in Wisconsin, and she actually had a bear come knock on her front door — and has the pics to prove it!

      And yes, snore button = awesome.

  3. Renee, I love your selection. I love Karma Wilson’s wonderful books. Such a perfect choice. Have not read this one. Very lyrical and fun for kids. Great review and selection for our PPB list.

  4. “An itty-bitty mouse, pitter-pat, tip-toe,
    creep-crawls in the cave from the fluff-cold snow.”


    How could she not have made the list already????

    And a snore button??!!! How fun! I have never seen this version!

  5. This book sounds wonderful (and I love bears, too). I’m not as much of a fan of rhyming text as many people are, but this seems absolutely charming, and seems as though it works. The illustrations are a delight, judging from the trailer. Thank you!

    1. @ Jennifer – This is my first one — must check out the rest!

      @ Beth – Yes, I think even those who prefer prose would get caught up in Karma’s rhyme. The ills are charming, aren’t they?

  6. Loved this Review Renee. I nearly bought a Bear book home to review next week. ahhh must have known aye! This is a very cute book with lovely illustrations and I love the rhyming, even though I am not one for writing rhyme…mmm.

    1. @ Eric – This is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays — maybe you want to join in! There are about 30 of us and part of the “formula” is to include resources and why we like the book. Makes for a more thorough and personal review. 🙂

      @ Diane – Thank you! Well, she has plenty more we could add to the PPBF list!

  7. I couldn’t believe my luck when this text buzzed out of my fax machine 13 years ago. It blew me away back then, and it is still my favourite after all this time. As an illustrator, I read a lot of stories, but Bear Snores On stands out as a career highlight! I’m so glad you love it too!

    1. Jane, how wonderful of you to drop in! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I bet Karma had the same reaction when she knew you would be the illustrator. And all evidence points to the fact that this was/is a match made in heaven!

      Bear Snores On really is a special book, fully deserving of all the accolades. I have no doubt it will become a family favorite at our house. Thank you for giving Bear to the world! 🙂

  8. I just looove Karma Wilson’s bear books. I fell in love with her last year way before PPBF’s. So glad you included her in the selections. It had to be a matter of time.

    We also have real bears stop off here in our front and back yard checking out the trash cans. We have to have special clamps keeping the lids on. And I’m afraid of them, even though they run when they see me. In summer I make a lot of noise going to my car away from the house.

  9. I’ve only been part of PPBF for two weeks, but I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have connected with all of you. 🙂

    What a lovely review of an awesome book…I had read it before (but not the edition with the snooze button, I think…how creative!) but I thank you for recapturing it from my memory banks…where there are so many PBs that they tend to get lost. 🙂

    I love the resources you’ve listed and the trailer is a helpful addition.

    I’m in Colorado Springs and we have bears that make themselves at home on people’s covered hot tubs, deer that graze on the lawns and, in Estes Park, right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, the elk walk down the street every September. What great subject matter for a new PB. 🙂

    1. I know, Vivian! I’m pretty new, too, and I just love it. Here in Italy I haven’t seen much wildlife (no squirrels!), though I have seen EVIDENCE of it. And only once did we see a wild boar in the road. Those guys scare me plenty!

  10. I am a librarian and I definitely love this book! I’m reading Bear Wants More to my Kinder classes this week. These books are great for little ones because of the repetition and rhyme-they love to chime in, and they feel like they are reading with you. 🙂 Great choice, Renee!

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