Great Books for Young Children: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
May 27, 2011
'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' was the first book illustrated by Eric Carle, who has continued to illustrate and write dozens of children's books, including 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.' With text by Bill Martin Jr., 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' is a terrific read aloud story that will engage young children.
About the Story
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a picture book that was first published in 1967. Primarily aimed at toddlers, the book asks a succession of animals what they see. Most of the animals respond by naming an animal and its color. Among the animals are a red bird, green frog and black sheep.
The final animal, a goldfish, sees a teacher. The teacher then sees children. The book concludes with the children seeing all of the animals that preceded them in the story, starting with the brown bear.
The book doesn't contain a traditional plot. The animals are presented in an apparently random order. However, the teacher and children at the end suggest a framing story of a teacher showing children pictures of animals, though this isn't directly stated.
Ideal for Reading Aloud
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? has a simple writing style and colorful pictures that make it a great choice for reading aloud with your child. Young children enjoy the simple repetition of language that helps them anticipate what will come next. They're able to quickly learn the story as they see the pattern emerge, which fosters cognitive development.
This narrative pattern and general simplicity of language also makes Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? an excellent book for early readers. Additionally, the book is well-suited to pre-readers who can associate words with pictures. The repetitive text that is always based on the picture enables pre-readers to interpret the story effectively.
Engaging Your Child
For toddlers, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? provides an opportunity to teach about colors and animals. All of the colors of the rainbow are represented, as well as brown, black and white. There is also a diverse selection of animals to learn about. You can ask your child what he or she sees on the page before reading the text, allowing him or her to guess 'yellow duck' or 'blue horse.'
The book can also be used as the framework for a game you play with your child after reading. For example, if you spot a brown squirrel, ask your child, 'Little boy (or girl), little boy, what do you see?' and have him or her respond 'I see a yellow dog looking at me,' as the animals and people in the story respond.
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