By Patricia Tauzer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Gentle tale of one bear's hopeful, playful dreams.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The bear dreams of all four seaons, attributes of which can be pointed out and discussed with toddlers.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that is a beautiful book about a bear, the seasons, and dreams he has about things he loves.
Where to Read
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
As a lumbering, cuddly brown bear hunkers down for his long winter hibernation, he dreams he is a cub again, frolicking through the four seasons and all the pleasures they bring. Finally, he awakes and can hardly believe his eyes when he walks out into a blossoming spring world.
Is It Any Good?
Any book by Kevin Henkes is worth having, and this one is no exception. With the usual broad outlines and familiar watercolors, Henkes has filled OLD BEAR with striking illustrations that give the simple tale a tone as beautiful and pleasant as the world Old Bear loves. His dream world is filled with giant pink crocuses and butterfly leaves of spring, blueberries that fall from the sky during a summer rain. Splashes of orange, yellow, and red fill the autumn world with salmon, birds, and leaves, and the winter world blazes with icy stars that fill the sky like fireworks.
It's easy to understand why Henkes has been called a genius because of the masterful way he merges simple, poignant stories with expressive, colorful paintings. His books have been awarded the Caldecott medal as well as New York Times Book Review honors. Though Old Bear may not be the best of his best, it's definitely a book worth sharing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the seasons. What does each one look like? Or feel like? What about the bear? What does he do in the fall? The winter? The spring or summer? What does he dream about when he's hibernating? Why? Which season do you like best? Which season do you dream about when you sleep?
- Author: Kevin Henkes
- Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publication date: August 19, 2008
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
- Number of pages: 32
- Last updated: March 4, 2020
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate