Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Merry Christmas, BIG HUNGRY BEAR"

Title: Merry Christmas, BIG HUNGRY BEAR
Author: Don and Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press, 2002
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: K-2

Summary: The little mouse has his Christmas tree and presents all set out. He is told to remember the Big Hungry Bear who has nothing for Christmas. At first, he is scared and locks up all his presents. He soon changes his mind, and takes all the gifts to Hungry Bear’s cave. When he looks up, he sees a big present from the Big Hungry Bear.

Response: This is a book that is best for the young and beginning readers. For me, I did not focus so much on the holiday aspect of the book, but more about the lesson that is taught in it. This book is about sharing, especially sharing with others who we do not know or who are different. This is a very important lesson for children to learn at a young age. I know it was hard for me to understand why everyone needed to share and this book is a great story that talks about sharing. If it is used, obviously Christmas is a good time to do it. The idea of giving at Christmas is a great lesson that can be taught. It is also important to remember to include other holidays, not just Christmas. I loved the big font used for the text. It made it very easy to read, as well as pulled it away from the bright large illustrations that are in the book. Color is everywhere in this book. You see all sorts of colors popping out from under the Christmas tree. The pictures are bright with all the lights that are used in the mouse's home. The story is told as if the narrator is having a conversation with the mouse. I think this will make it easier for younger children to get interested and understand what is going on. They think that they are the ones talking to the mouse. When first asked to give presents to the bear, the mouse locks his house and presents away. He puts up tacks around the floor, as if they are some sort of defense. The mouse's facial expressions are so dramatic. His eyes get so big when he is afraid, and his smile is huge when he is happy. This shows children that it is okay to be human and be afraid at first of things that are different. But what is great about the story is that the mouse is curious enough to go and give his presents to the bear anyway. He then gets a present from the bear. This is great for children to learn. The outdoor scenes are gorgeous. The stars and clear sky, along with the snow just show how freezing cold it is out side. There is the one bright light of the mouse's lantern which is a great representation of how one person can really make a difference. I love how the mouse learns a lesson, and children will really be able to relate to this. A mouse is little, just like they are, and that he can go and stand up to a big bear is really amazing to them.

Teaching Ideas: I think this is a great way to talk about sharing with others. It can also lead into how to overcome fears. A great activity created by the authors is a page where students get to draw what the mouse received from the bear. Hungry Bear Activities This allows for creative juices to flow, and the students who are more comfortable with art and drawing will have a chance to shine. Maybe have a day where everyone brings in something they can share with the class. It could be a story, a toy, or food, whatever they want.

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