Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Is a clear favorite for young readers and pre-readers alike.  It’s just as enjoyable for kids to listen to being read aloud, or to read it themselves. With its lovely tissue-paper collage illustrations and catchy, rhythmic text this book is a great addition to any child’s bookshelf.

brown bear, brown bear, what do you see

What’s It Like?

This book has a wonderful, fluid rhyme scheme that is not only fun and easy to read, but makes it so that children will be able to anticipate what will be coming next (or at least inspire them to venture a guess at what’s coming next.) It begins “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?” with a picture of a large brown bear on the page, then “I see a red bird, looking at me.” Turning to the next page you see a cardinal, along with the words “Red Bird, Red Bird, what do you see?” than “I see a yellow duck, looking at me.” It continues like this, with new animals popping up every time you turn the page. There are even some more outlandish critters that add a nice surprising touch to the book-like a blue horse, and a purple cat. The ‘story,’ if you will, taps into kids imaginations and holds their attention with its wonderful flow of words, and the simple application of colors to animals.

brown bear, brown bear, what do you see by eric carle

The Illustrations

If one is going to simply put a color to an animal, the pictures that depict those animals must be eye catching in some way or another, and what better author/illustrator to do the job than Eric Carle? He’s earned himself a prominent place in children’s literature with books like ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Grouchy Ladybug” for a light, upbeat story and bold, bright illustrations. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is no different. Although not written by Eric Carle himself, it nonetheless has the distinct look and feel that he brings to any book he works on.

Who Should Read It?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Is perfect for ages 0-2 and on up through kindergarten. This is a simply fantastic story to read to youngsters, who learn best through rhythmic repetition and visual stimulation. Eric Carle is a special author/illustrator, and Bill Martin Jr. does a great job with the writing and rhyming.

A Note On The Revised Edition

In the original format of the book, each page was suspenseful and left us wondering just what we would find on the next page. For example on one page with a yellow duck it would simply say “I see a Yellow Duck, looking at me” as well as “Yellow Duck Yellow Duck, What do you see? and then on the next page with the picture of a blue horse “I see a blue horse, looking at me.” Now on the page with the yellow duck it says “Yellow duck, Yellow Duck, what do you see?” and then “I see a blue horse, looking at me.” This takes away the fun part of wondering what animal might come next. The book in general is wonderful, but I personally find the “newer” version (revised early 2000’s) inferior to the original.

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