The Dinglehopper

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Children’s Book Review: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

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Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr, illustrated by Eric Carle

What will you hear when you read this book to a preschool child?

Lots of noise!

Children will chant the rhythmic words. They’ll make the sounds the animals make. And they’ll pretend to be the zoo animals featured in the book– look at the last page!

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle are two of the most respected names in children’s education and children’s illustrations. This collaboration, their first since the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?(published more than thirty years ago and still a best-seller) shows two masters at their best.

A Redbook Children’s Picture Book Award winner

Last year, our toddler received a pretty impressive Amazon gift card from grandma with instructions to get some books for the Kindle. It makes sense when you know I’m an ebooks partisan. For years now, I’ve read digital books almost exclusively.

They, amorphous and ambiguous, say that the best way to encourage your children to read is to read. To them. With them. To be seen reading. A lot of what our toddler sees is me reading on a tablet. So we read together on the tablet, too. It’s been a big success.

Once Brown Bear really clicked, I downloaded samples of the three companion texts and we read through them. Despite their frustrating brevity, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? was the clear favorite for both father and toddler.

Polar Bear even improves on the scatterbrained new parent complaints I had about its predecessor. The chain of narration is sensible and the subject object relationships are contextualized by the zoo setting. Eric Carle’s illustrations are beautiful, clear, and memorable. And the animals chosen are simple and iconic. So much so that the final spread, with children dressed as the animals, was instantly comprehensible to our toddler.

If you or your child loved Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? this book will be an easy hit. If you somehow missed it, you could even buy this one first. And it’s perfect for Kindle.

In the following clip, Gwyneth Paltrow shows off a bit of what you as a reader, a parent, and a teacher can add when you share it with a youngster.

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