Bear Counts

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Bear Counts Book Poster Image
Bear teaches counting to 5 in fun, simple rhyming book.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Numbers and 1-to-1 correspondence of numbers to animals. Names of woodland animals.

Positive Messages

Counting is easy and fun: "Now YOU can count, just like BEAR!"

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bear counts easily and enjoys counting his woodland friends. All the animals get along.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bear Counts is part of the Bear Books series by author-illustrator team Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Their previous book, Bear Sees Colors, taught colors, and this one introduces the numbers up to 5. As Bear takes a walk and meets up with his woodland friends, a rhyming text encourages kids to count the animals and other woodland objects, all brightly and cheerfully illustrated. The takeaway is that counting is fun: "Numbers, numbers everywhere. Now YOU can count, just like BEAR!"

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What's the story?

In BEAR COUNTS, Bear takes a walk in the woods and finds things to count. First there's the number 1: one sun, one dragonfly, one robin, one berry. After that are two things together: two paws, two apples, two stumps, two friends. These are followed, of course, by 3, 4, then 5: "Numbers, numbers everywhere. Can you count along with Bear?"

Is it any good?

This simple rhyming book is great for teaching kids to count objects up to 5, a manageable number for kids learning to count. It invites them to not only parrot numbers by rote but also pair each number with an object, the foundation of real understanding of a number. The things that the kids are encouraged to count are distinct and clearly clustered so the counting's not confusing. And the rhyme scheme signals the next number, so that when you turn the page, kids can shout it out. Unfortunately, the rhythms of the stanzas are often choppy and hard to read smoothly, but the overall feel is encouraging and fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about numbers and counting. Can you count five things?

  • Name the animals. Do you recognize any of Bear's friends from other Bear books? Can you spy any new animals in this book?

  • Look closely at the pictures. What are some of the animals doing? Do the pictures tell more of the story than the words?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and counting

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