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Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? 03/23/08
When Sean was about Harriet's age his favorite book at daycare was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. He would recite the story to us on the way home from school. Although we haven't read the book in a while it remains a favorite of Sean. Based on his fondness for the book, he insisted we check out Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear, the companion book, for Harriet.
A big part of Brown Bear's charm is its surreal combining of animals and colors and the almost Remy Charlip conclusion. By changing colors for sounds the book loses one important visual element. Yes, the book still has Eric Carle's delightful style of illustrations but this time they are too grounded in reality.
A second problem with Polar Bear is the meter. Martin seems to be trying to keep the original sing-song meter of Brown Bear but his choice of animals and sounds gives him much longer words and often times too many syllables to fit into the simplistic meter of Brown Bear thus making Polar Bear hard to read out loud and frustrating to listen to (according to my children).
If you are a fan of Eric Carle's artwork or fans of Bill Martin Jr.'s books, then Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? will be a welcome to your personal library. For everyone else there are better board books.
Ahhh! I love this "series" of books! "
I do too because I like Eric Carle's illustrations but I think Brown Bear... is a much stronger book."