Author: Ashley Wolff
Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Target Ages: 2-8
Genre: Picture Book
Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?
Inside the log?
Behind the waterfall?
Between the cattails?
Join him and Mama Bear for a cozy moonlit game of hide and seek.
One by one, bats fly out of the deep, dark den.
“Where are they going?” asks Baby Bear.
“They are going to look for food,” says Mama Bear.
“Can we go look for food too?” asks Baby Bear.
“Yes,” says Mama. “Let’s go.”
“Where, oh where, is Mama Bear?” he calls.
“Here I am, Baby Bear,” says Mama, “right beside you.”
I had my own game of where, oh where, is Baby Bear. I spotted a young bear in my yard a couple weeks ago. He was quite a neighborhood sensation as many others saw him too—getting into items on a patio and peaking into a shed while one man was working. I caught a glimpse of him a week later running across a lawn. Then he climbed a tree. He apparently found his way back to the wild because there have not been any recent spottings. He was so cute though. Here is a picture one of my neighbors took of him.
I came across Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? at the library this week. From the cover picture to the last scene, I became smitten with this book. (It probably helps that I LOVE bears!).
The illustrations are absolutely adorable! The vibrant blues and blacks contrast with the sprinkles and brushes of whites, neutrals, and yellows. Baby Bear’s playful personality is captured as he hides from his mother, but always close by. Along the way, young readers learn about bear habits like foraging for berries and catching fish in streams. Other busy nocturnal creatures are also shown, such as raccoons, frogs, bats, owls, deer, and rabbits.
The focus of the narrative is a back and forth—Where are you?... Here I am. This predictable technique invites children to “read along.” In addition, they can find Baby Bear and explain where he is, such as behind the waterfall and between the cattails.
The rhythmic language is soothing, and the mother-child dynamic is comforting, which makes Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? a perfect addition to bedtime reading. Let’s be honest, children will enjoy it anytime of day though!
Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
- Science: Study more about bears and their habits.
- Categorization: Explain how some animals are primarily active at night (nocturnal) while others are in the daytime (diurnal). Print out pictures (or use some you already have). Together put all the animals that primarily come out during the day in one spot (like under a sun picture or word like “day”) and those that like the night in another spot (like under a moon picture or word like “night”). Here is an online activity.
- Choral Reading: Because of the repetitive pattern--where are you...here I am--and predictable responses (based on the pictures) use in a class or at home to prompt listeners to chime in for the question/answer and even responses like "behind the waterfall."
- Characterization: Identify Baby Bear’s primarily personality trait (playful, mischievous). Identify ways that character quality is depicted (illustrations like climbing a tree or hiding behind something, his desire to play games, his interactions with is mother).
- Survival: Discuss how to act if a bear ever crosses your path.
- Pretend Play: Play your own game of hide and seek or a variation by hiding a stuffed bear.
- Story Time: Listen to this read-aloud if you don't have access to the book.