‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, Published: 1989.
We’re going on a bear hunt is an award-winning classic, a timeless story and has been entertaining children for more than thirty years. It follows the adventure of four young children who set off on a ‘bear hunt’. Read on for my full ‘We re going on a bear hunt’ book review.
Just Quickly, What Is It?
This is one of those classic picture books that doesn’t date. Four young children enjoy an afternoon outdoors, on a ‘bear hunt’. They make their way through long, wavy grass, a deep, cold river, thick, oozy mud, a gloomy cave and a big, dark forest. They end up finding a bear, and then they’re not so sure that it was such a good idea!
Tell Me More, What’s It All About?
This award winning favorite is an entertaining adventure and a literary classic. It combines fun and adventure with suspense and surprise. It mixes alliteration and repetition to make for a story kids will love to revisit as they make predictions, recall the story events and repeat the phrases, “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!”
Four young kids, along with (who we assume to be) their father, display bravery and a deep sense of adventure as they squelch and squerch through the mud, as they stumble and trip through the big, dark forest and as they splash and splosh through the deep, cold river in search for a bear!
As they approach the dark, gloomy cave and slowly tiptoe through, suspense builds and they discover the bear!
Now they’re not so sure they wanted to discover a bear! They quickly head back home! Back through the mud, the long grass, the snowstorm and the river, and jump into bed, under the covers, all together, and vow to never go on a bear hunt again!
Characters are not named but we see four young kids, a man who we assume to be their father, a black and white dog, and of course, the BEAR!
So What Do I Love About It?
There is so much to love in this story:
- The rich language used; descriptive words, repetition, alliteration.
- The illustrations; they tell half the story, they’re engaging, varied and have a mix of coloured pages and black and white pages. The coloured pages pop. The black and white pages set the scene. The images also have many things going on that can inspire discussion, things not mentioned within the story.
- There are a myriad of learning opportunities here. Teachers and parents can use this story to inspire and to prompt discussions and lessons on environments, on language, and it can be used for drama and dramatic representations. You can take a look HERE at some online suggestions for learning experiences based on Bear Hunt.
- The book doesn’t date. For more than thirty years readers have been enjoying and learning from this book, and will continue to do so well into the future.
- There is music, CDs and audio story recordings to go along with this book, which I have enjoyed using with many children of various ages. These can really make the story come alive when played in conjunction with turning the pages for a child or for a class.
- I love the last illustrated page. We see an image of the bear walking away, on a beach, head down, looking forlorn. The bear looks sad and I have always loved using this page to inspire discussion with children about how the bear might be feeling. It can turn feelings of fear into feelings of empathy, when the children realise the bear may have just wanted to make friends!
Weak Points For Me
I can’t note any weak points in this story. The whole book from the language used, the story itself and the illustrations have been carefully constructed by author Michael Rosen, and this is why this classic continues to be popular generation after generation.
Quick Summary Review
A bear hunt! An adventure. Different landscapes, descriptive words about the environment, about their adventure and repetitive language which children will love to revisit and say out loud together. They are four brave, young kids and they discover a bear! They also don’t anticipate what to do when they find a bear! Getting taken along for the adventure is a joy.
There are many classic picture books that make my list of must reads in early childhood but this one makes my top ten, and continues to make lists and win awards all over the world.
This story is suitable for children from aged 2 to about 6 years old. It can be simply read, or it can be read and discussed. Pictures can be heavily relied upon for younger children, while the language used can be made to increase the engagement for older children around 5 or 6 years.
In short, 2y-6y.
You can find it on Booktopia HERE. – https://www.booktopia.com.au/we-re-going-on-a-bear-hunt-michael-rosen/book/9781529507409.html