A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Penelope Lively (Dragon Trouble), Zibby Oneal (The Language of Goldfish), Keith Baker (LMNO Peas), Ralph Fletcher (Fig Pudding), and Patrick McDonnell (The Gift of Nothing).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Kate Greenaway (1846â€“1901), Under the Window; Ennis Rees (1925â€“2009),Brer Rabbit and his Tricks); and Lillian Moore (1909-2004), My First Counting Book.
- Itâ€™s St. Patrickâ€™s Day, first celebrated in the United States in 1756 in New York City at the Crown and Thistle Tavern. Read Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert, illustrated by Michael Garland, and Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola.
March has been designated March into Literacy Month, and when I think of that idea, a particularly brilliant book comes to mindâ€”Weâ€™re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrator Helen Oxenbury.
This book completely belongs to both author and illustrator. Michael Rosen took a chant for children that enticed him, and set out to re-create it in words that would engage the youngest listeners. Then Helen Oxenbury took this light soufflĂ© of a text and turned the book into an amazing family adventureâ€”with characters and plot created solely by her.
If you have used Weâ€™re Going on a Bear Hunt once with young children, you have probably read it about a hundred times. Sometimes I canâ€™t remember my street address, but I can call up this text in a heartbeat. What a fabulous narrative it is! As the family goes out to hunt for a bear, they traverse grass (â€śswishy swashyâ€ť), mud (â€śsquelch squerchâ€ť), and snow (â€śhoooo wooooâ€ť). Strong rhythm and rhyme carry the text along, inviting participation, until the family finds the bearâ€”and then runs from it! â€śWeâ€™re not going on a bear hunt again,â€ť the final line says. But readers will want to again and again.
Black-and-white pages, where the plot is set out, alternate with full-color spreads of a family (father, mother, three children, and a dog) as they brave the elements. Helen Oxenbury provides action and drama on every page. She manages to run multiple illustrative story lines simultaneously, with beautifully balanced compositions on each double-page spread. I particularly enjoy following the family dog, who plays a silent but intriguing role. Brilliant art, a text that reads aloud beautifullyâ€”books for our youngest readers birth to three donâ€™t get any better than Weâ€™re Going on a Bear Hunt.
There are many editions, probably the most popular one being the board book. But I own the twentieth-anniversary edition and love it for the spacious pages and superb color reproductions. Whatever version you use, you will truly be able to get young readers to march and run and leap into literacy when you use this classic book with them. Happy twenty-fifth anniversary Weâ€™re Going on a Bear Hunt! May you have many, many more.
Â Here’s a page from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt:Â
Originally posted March 17, 2014. Updated for .