Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bear Snores On

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.

bear_snores_onTitle: Bear Snores On

Author: Karma Wilson

Illustrator: Jane Chapman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster

Year: 2002

Genre: Fiction picture book

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Frienship; animals


In a cave in the woods,

in his deep, dark, lair,

through the long cold winter

sleeps a great brown bear.

Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) One by one, a whole host of different animals and birds find their way out of the cold and into Bear’s cave to warm up. But even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on! See what happens when he finally wakes up and finds his cave full of uninvited guests — all of them having a party without him!

What makes it great: The storyline and cast of characters are adorable and appealing to young children. Who wouldn’t want to see what is finally going to wake this bear up?

What readers notice: When we first read this story when my daughter was about 3, she loved the repetition of the phrase, “But the bear snores on!” This is the first in Karma Wilson’s bear series and every book includes a wonderful repetitive phrase that children can latch onto.

What a writer notices: 

There’s so much to like about this story, but what I’ll talk about here is the language. The language is simple and easy for a young child to understand, while at the same time using inventive phrases that add so much fun to the storytelling, for example in this stanza:

An itty-bitty mouse,

pitter-pat, tip-toe,

creep-crawls in the cave

from the fluff-cold snow.

The rhythm and rhyme are impeccable, and I love how the stanzas are punctuated with a phrase that breaks the rhythm, and then repetitive phrase that is fun to say:

The coals pip-pop and the wind doesn’t stop. But the bear snores on.

In the book, the phrase ‘but the bear snores on’ is printed in a larger typeface and offset so that it is given even more emphasis.

The drama is heightened even further at the climax of the story when the forest creatures make a stew and sprinkle it with pepper.

He blows and he sneezes, and the whole crowd freezes…and the bear wakes up!


Activities/Links to Resources: 

Preschool lesson plans about bears:

A music lesson to be used with Bear Snores On:

Many lessons and ideas about hibernation:

Lesson plan about rhyming:

18 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bear Snores On

  1. Laura S. says:

    I LOVE this book. It really launched both of their careers, which is a reflection of how delightfully Karma’s text and Jane’s illustrations work together. BEAR SNORES ON is one of our favorite “cozy” stories to read together. Glad your daughter enjoys it as well.

  2. rnewman504 says:

    Love this book! It’s one of those wonderful books that children will always remember, and go back to years later with their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Great review, Carrie! 🙂

  3. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    Nothing better than to cuddle up with the Bear books! So perfectly illustrated and such charming, catchy rhymes. A book to hug and treasure!

  4. tinamcho says:

    Lovely word choices in the story. I don’t think I’ve read this one, but I’ve known about the series. Thanks for sharing!

    • Carrie Finison says:

      Actually it was, Kirsten – my mistake. I always do a search before I review something to make sure it’s not already on the list, but somehow I missed this one – Renee LaTulippe had reviewed it a while back. Oops!

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