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A big one...!
We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
Member Name: juicy_lucy
We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
Date: 11/01/06, updated on 18/02/07 (324 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely rhythmical story
This is one of my favourite books EVER; excellent for reading aloud, and children love it.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
There is not much of a plot; the skill is in the absolute poetic simplicity of the text. Whe I first read it I thought "I could write this" and when I recognised the complexity of it realised…"maybe not!!"
Three children decide to go on a bear hunt with their father and dog "We're going on a bear hunt, We're going to catch a big one"
Off they go, to be faced with different obstacles along the way-grass, mud, a forest, a snowstorm, a cave.
Then they come face to face with the bear "IT'S A BEAR!!!" Children love this bit and when they become familiar with the storyline, they wait for it so that they can have a really good shout!
Oh dear, time to get back home, so off they dash. The pace of the story changes at this stage and you can "feel" the rush as they hurry to get to the safety of their own home. They retrace their steps and the sounds remain the same as they pass the various places but instead of a large picture for each obstacle there are 3 smaller pictures on each page. Hurry Hurry…you can see the bear chasing them, you can see the panic on their faces as they run away. Gone is the relaxed manner when they started the bear hunt. Back into the house they run, and back into bed "We're not going on a bear hunt again"
Turn to the back cover and there he is, the bear, walking along a shore line looking dejected.
That's the storyline…as I mentioned, it's very simple.
It's the language, the pacing and the illustrations which make this book so memorable and a perennial favourite of mine.
The language is repetitive so children will quickly learn the format of the text and will join in. Turn the first page and you start with the lyrical style of writing. Every obstacle they meet, they say the same thing "We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it!" Children join in with this…they can't help themselves.
Each obstacle has a lovely sound to go with it.
The grass is swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! (the letters get bigger each time to implicate that they are getting deeper into the grass)
The river is Splash splosh! Splash splosh! Splash splosh!
The mud is Squelch squerch! (I love these made up words)The forest is Stumble trip! And the snowstorm is Hooo wooo!
It is written in short simple sentences which children can easily learn and repeat, and the text changes size depending on the events of the story. This enables children to "keep up" with the story and to feel the surprise and shock as the children feel it.
There are lots of exclamation marks so that the children are encouraged to feel a level of surprise and wonder about what happens next.
The illustrations are in what looks almost like watercolours…very soft muted natural colour. Of course, they are conduction their bear hunt in the countryside.
The inside front cover shows a shore line during the day- calm and tranquil.
When you start to read the story, you notice a pattern to the illustrations.
Look at the first double page…black and white double page sketch as they start their bear hunt and encounter the grass.
Swishy Swashy! Swishy Swashy! Swishy swashy! We now see a double page picture showing the children, their father and the dog going through the grass, and this is in colour.
Turn the next page and it's black and white sketch again.
This continues with the sounds of the grass, mud, snowstorm etc being in a box on a full colour double page picture
That changes when we meet the bear! The text is still in boxes and the whole encounter with the bear is double page colour.
When the bear begins to chase them there are 3 pictures to each page as they run quickly back, and even when they are in the house, there are two pictures to each single page until they are safely in bed and under the blankets.
The start of the book has an almost dreamlike quality with the children walking through almost idyllic countryside, enjoying the fact that they overcome challenges.
It becomes faster paced once they meet the bear and you find yourself reading it more quickly to "hurry" them back home.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Most certainly to be read aloud as soon as children can listen to a story, and even before they can listen to a whole story. They will hear the rhythmical sounds and so starts a love of books.
It can be used for a starting point for children starting to read. They can read the bits they are familiar with and gain confidence, and who minds if they read a different word to that written, they are telling a story that they know and hopefully love.
It can be used as a book to explore feelings…how do the children feel at each stage of the story? Try to map it out.
Read the story and mime the actions as they travel to find the bear
Look on websites for information about bears eg www.wildhearts.org, www.bear.org
The list is as endless as your imagination!
OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL ROSEN:
He has written many books and here are some of my favourites…
Farmer Duck Smelly Jelly, Smelly Fish
This is Our House
Little Rabbit Foo Foo
OTHER BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY HELEN OXENBURY
All Fall Down
Out and About with Tom and Pippo
Information about the author can be found on this website. Not the easiest or most child friendly I have come across but worth a look
ISBN AND PUBLISHER
Mine is published by Walker Books Ltd
I have also seen it published a sa board book published by Walker Books as well ISBN 0744581907
Available from Amazon for £4.99 for the board book, used from £1.70
I have seen several gifts to accompany the book.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt board book and toy, Walker Books £9.99
Audio cd, Walker Books, £7.99
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
Most certainly, YES.
I have yet to find anyone, adult or child who has not enjoyed this book.
Thanks for reading
Summary: Rhythmical story which children will enjoy from a young age