Three Bears in a Boat Book Poster Image

Three Bears in a Boat



Gorgeous illustrations buoy book about bears and teamwork.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some exposure to sailing the open sea, but Three Bears in a Boat is meant to entertain more than educate.

Positive messages

Three Bears in a Boat offers positive messages about teamwork, admitting mistakes, trying to fix them, and forgiveness.

Positive role models

Characters are simple but well-intentioned. Parents are engaged when present.

Violence & scariness

Minor peril when the bears sail the open sea and meet rough waves and lightning, though no one's injured.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that David Soman's Three Bears in a Boat tells the story of three sibling bears who sail the open sea to find and replace their mother's beloved blue seashell. There's minor peril when the bears are tossed about in a sea storm, but no one's harmed. It's ultimately a positive book about fixing mistakes and working together, from the same illustrator of the Ladybug Girl series, here writing and illustrating on his own for the first time.

What's the story?

When Charlie, Theo, and Dash break their mother's favorite blue seashell, they decide to replace it. Off they sail to look high and low for the perfect substitute, only to discover it's not that easy to make their mistake go away.

Is it any good?


THREE BEARS IN A BOAT tells a simple story about trying to fix a mistake, but the easy pace and gentle sweetness of the disposition make this is a terrific read. There's a little minor peril when the bears are on their own on the rough seas, but no one's injured and the distress is used to show that it's better to work together and take responsibility than quarrel to solve a problem or try to cover it up.

Most striking are the gorgeously rendered watercolor illustrations, recognizable to fans of the Ladybug Girl series, which give the book an old-fashioned, sea-swept appeal. Kids will enjoy these seafaring bear adventures, and parents will appreciate the positive lessons and sweetness of the aesthetics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about admitting mistakes. Have you ever made a mistake or broken something? What did you do? Did you tell mom or dad? What happened?

  • The book says the bears are "in the same boat." What does it mean to say we are all in the same boat?

  • Why do you think the bears can't find the seashell they're looking for? Where do they find it?

Book details

Author:David Soman
Illustrator:David Soman
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:May 20, 2014
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 5
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Three Bears in a Boat was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Sweet story and pictures celebrate unstructured play.
  • Funny story of bear searching for cub boasts detailed art.
  • Loving friends, sweet cub make this a timeless classic.

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!