Perfect Picture Book Friday – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Spread the love

I can’t hide my respect for this author/poet. In 2007 Michael Rosen was elected the 5th UK Children’s Poet Laureate. You will remember, I recently posted his Sad Book, for PPPF. He has visited hundreds of schools promoting especially poetry and a love of language, and has probably done more than anyone for children’s poetry in the UK.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

First Published by Walker Books (UK), by Margaret K McElderry Books (USA), 1989

Ages: 2-6

Themes: Bears, hunting, family, rhythm, adventure

Opening Lines/Synopsis: 

“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. We’re not scared.” 

This text is repeated on each black and white page as the family encounters another obstacle, which cannot be gone over nor under, but

“Oh, no. We’ve got to go through it.” 

Through water, mud, forest, snow; a Dad, his toddler, young son and two older daughters march on with their bold bear-hunting plan. Every black and white spread is alternated by a watercolor landscape inviting play. The song/adventure is going to plan until they hit the beach, and the CAVE, and, well you’ll have to read to discover how successful this bear-hunt was.

Why I like this book: I challenge you to read this book quietly to yourself! It begs, nay, demands to be read out loud, actually, pretty loudly It begs to be chanted, performed, reenacted, sang…  it requires complete involvement of reader and listener… This is a book that calls to action. Though written in prose, it has an elegant, chanting, alliterative lilt and  rhythm to it that will not resist calls for “again, again”. There is adventure, repetition, surprise and beautiful text to enthrall kids. I like the fact that it is a Dad and his four kids out for a day of fun together. This also has just the right amount of fear in it for very small kids, who will inevitable quell and giggle.


Chant it together. After only a couple of readings, kids will have the hang of this repetitive text.

Act it out! Here’s a fabulous theatre activity pack.

 Teacher’s Guide Song Lyrics, Activities, Lesson Plans, Worksheets

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

I don’t know how this book hasn’t received a reward. It is such a classic to me!

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

This entry was posted in Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

  1. Joke says:

    I think I might have used the chant without knowing the source, will check this one out too!

    • Joanna says:

      I think it has become so much of our children’s children’s books, we quote it without remembering the source.

  2. Heather says:

    I love, love, love, love, love this book! David and I have read this one to our boys hundreds of times over the years and it never gets stale. We still use lines “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh No! We’ve got to go through it!” when something is challenging. It’s part of our family language now. It’s also top on my list of great books to give as baby gifts.

    Have you seen this video? It’s Michael Rosen performing his book!

  3. I wanted to add it to my list before I saw the video Heather posted. What fun!

  4. Hmmm… the description of the illustrations intrigues me enough to check it out. Also the part of always going “through it” sounds like it could be fun. Thanks.

  5. I LOVE this book and actually can’t believe it hasn’t gotten onto our list before now! Such a classic! Thanks so much for adding it – and thanks to Heather for the video! 🙂

  6. Joanna says:

    Yes, I double checked the list as I was sure it had already been added.

  7. This must be a remake on a story I remember singing the words to as a kid around campfire and in the car. Kids love this story! And, I love Heather posting the video. Rosen is a fun and fabulous storyteller.

  8. Joanna says:

    Thanks for this info, Pat, I should try and do some research and find the origins.

  9. This looks awesome! I am adding it to my list. It sounds wonderful for the classroom.

  10. Ah yes, and absolute classic this one! A must read!

    P.S. I love your new banner. That is some very excellent book promotion. 🙂

  11. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Maja was a start with the banner!

  12. Finley’s class used this book recently to go on a bear hunt. It was so cute to watch all of them creeping around the room!

  13. Amy Dixon says:

    Oh, I love the idea of a theater pack! The words to this play in my head in the voice of Dora the Explorer…there was an episode where they sang it that was watched over and over and over in my house…

    Thanks, Joanna!

  14. Sandi says:

    I think I will have to keep my eyes open for the big book version of this story. It needs to be read with an English accent! My students love the Bear Hunt story and its many variations.

    rubber boots and elf shoes

  15. Erik This Kid Reivews Books says:

    I have heard a song about this! I love the cover art for “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”! I love the video too!

  16. Joanna says:

    Erik, I am now wondering what came first?

  17. Leslie Rose says:

    We used to do the “Goin’ on a Lion Hunt” chant in girl scouts. I know a newborn that’s going to get this book as a welcome to the world present.

  18. Joanna says:

    I do have to agree with those of you who have said this makes a great baby shower gift!

  19. Great choice! We love this book. So much fun to read-out-loud. My kids already knew the lines from preschool. I give this as a baby shower and 1st bday gifts.

  20. This was a great review Joanna. Loved the video Heather Posted, he is quite the comic in his story telling….lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.