My lovely grizzly bear puppet, Grizzwold (named by a co-worker), comes out to introduce our theme. He tells us he’s getting ready to go to sleep for the winter (ta da! We introduce a new vocabulary word: “hibernate!”). I ask if he’d like to hear some bear bedtime stories. Here’s what Grizz and I share:
- Teckentrup, Britta. Big Smelly Bear. Love it, love it, love it. Especially when I get to shout: “because you [big dramatic pause] stink!”
- Wood, Audrey. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear=El ratoncito, la fresa roja y madura, y el gran oso hambriento. Okay, technically, there’s no bear in this story. Pictured, at least. But the bear is implied, and therefore, very important to the plot. Plus, the kids love it.
- Flannelboard: Best Dressed Bear. There is a story that originally went with this one (about a bear who goes to a store and asks what he needs to buy to be the best-dressed bear), but my version has just become having the kids tell me what the bear needs to put on in order to be ready to go to the dance. We have underwear (which I made after so many kids told me he had to have it before he put on his pants), pants, shirt, socks, shoes, jacket, top hat, and mittens (again, something I made because the kids insisted).
- Rosen, Michael. Bear’s Day Out. A new favorite by the author of another bear favorite, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! This story has a great beat, and you can tap your toe along with it. The kids can help! Plus I love the illustrations by Adrian Reynolds, who also illustrated Harry and the Dinosaurs.
- Hest, Amy. Don’t You Feel Well, Sam?=¿No te sientes bien, Sam? VERY appropriate, given how we’re all trying to avoid certain nasty viruses right now…
- Wilson, Karma. Bear Snores On, or Bear Feels Scared. Bear’s got some awesome friends, and the repeated refrain is easy for the kids to pick up and help out with (building narrative skills!).
- Martin, Bill. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? or Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (both available en espanol) or Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? These all have a rhythm to them, and the kids probably know Brown Bear so well they can recite it with you. I like Baby Bear because many of the animals included we find here in Colorado.
- Song: “The Other Day I Met a Bear” – a fun “echo song” (a new term for me — means you say one line, and then the kids repeat it, like an…um, echo), with lyrics that easily lend themselves to making up motions. The teachers have enjoyed helping out with this one and have been singing along with gusto! We may just have to take our show on the road. Find the lyrics here, and the tune here (sung by one of my fave bands, btw). The original version has a verse about a gun, but I omit it simply because I know the preschools I visit don’t allow any play with simulated weapons (or real ones for that matter!), so it seems to make sense not to sing about them. The song still works without that verse, I think.
Obviously I have more books than time. Again, I like to have options. I choose based on time, kids’ ages and attention spans, and what I’m in the mood to perform.
What stories can’t you “bear” to do without? Heh heh. Bear hugs all around!