Ever wonder exactly why bears hibernate? Or how exactly they make such good fishermen? A bear study can teach your littles so much about nature, conservation, and mammal habits. You can cover black bears, grizzlies, polar bears, Kodiaks. There are so many varieties of bear. You can learn about their cold weather habits, their warm weather habits, their diets, their sense of family. Bears are a great addition to any animal or nature study and adding literature to your study can make it ever so much more fun. You know it can. You’ve read it here before. And I don’t lie to you.
There are a lot of books about bears, and some of them have been favorites in our house for a long time. You’ll have heard of most of these, maybe. That’s okay, maybe you forgot how great they are. Maybe you remember them from your own childhood and haven’t yet had the chance to introduce them to your littles. Maybe it didn’t occur to you to make them part of your bear study. Lucky you, you have the Lit Mama to remind you. 🙂
We love these books. They are sweet, simple stories with an almost lyrical feel to them. Even the illustrations are sweet and simple. They’re easy readers, so they can give your lower elementary child reading practice or your preschool child a good chance to cuddle up next to mama and follow along as she reads. Nothing bad happens in Little Bear’s world and happiness shines through all the family interactions. Little Bear’s antics will help your littles relate to bears and make their studies even more rewarding.
This book. I remember it inspiring me when I was little. I still kind of believe stuffed animals come to life behind our backs, thanks to Corduroy and the Raggedy dolls. This one fed my imagination, and it fed Big’s imagination, and it fed the Littles’ imaginations in turn. Corduroy comes to life in the department store after it closes at night and climbs down from his shelf to look for his missing button. He has a series of adventures before he’s discovered by the night watchmen and put back on his shelf. The next morning, a little girl buys him and takes him home to be her friend. Such an endearing story, and the bright illustrations are sweet while leaving a little something to your little’s imagination.
Paddington is another bear I grew up with. Traveling to England from Darkest Peru with only a jar of marmalade? Darkest Peru? It sounds so intriguing. (And Peru Actually Is intriguing, so this book with work well with a South America study, too.) This bear is one adventurous guy. Luckily for him, he meets a family who accepts him at face value and welcomes him into their hearts. There are more than fifty books about Paddington and this is the first. If you haven’t already fallen in love with this bear, you will from the first page.
This riveting story about a young troublemaker who is sentenced to Native American ‘circle justice’ for beating up another kid gives some insight into the nature of bears. When Cole is sent to live on an island off the coast of Alaska, he is warned of a Spirit Bear who will share the island with him. Cole, in a typical act of rebellion, tries to kill the bear when he sees it. The bear mauls him, breaking several bones and nearly killing him. As he lays alone on the island, surviving on worms and other nasty things, the bear returns twice without hurting him and her realizes it had just been protecting itself. His journey from being an angry, violent teen to being a more humane person is amazingly well-written. A wonderful additon to your bear study.
Pattou is one of the authors who inspired me to make my first novel, Frog’s Princess, fairytale-based (the other was Shannon Hale). This particular book, based on the tale ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” is brilliant. Pattou makes her reader fall in love with the polar bear who takes Rose from her home and you stay cheering Rose on until the very end of her adventures. Sure, it doesn’t really teach much about bears, but my book doesn’t teach you about frogs. You should still read it. haha
Nerdy, sweet Tyson just wants to be in the in-crowd. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t fit in. His best friend is his Grandpa Gene, a roughneck who has promised to take him on an elk hunt. When Grandpa Gene gets sick and has to move to a nursing home, Tyson feels like he’s lost his only friend. Together, they come up with a plan to sneak off to the Grand Tetons for the promised hunt. But there’s a vicious grizzly in the area, and they’ll have to contend with that, too. The most exciting part of the book is the encounter with the bear, but kids who love hunting will enjoy it all the way through.
On another note, just in case I haven’t complained enough about how much it’s rained this summer, this meme says it all: