Over, Bear! Under, Where? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Over, Bear! Under, Where?

Author: Julie Hedlund

Illustrator: Michael Slack

Publisher: Philomel Books, 2021

Ages: 4-8

Format/Genre: narrative nonfiction

Themes: wordplay, puns, compound words, fun, friendship


Hi, Over.

Hi, Under.


Over and Under are two friends, and they’re enjoying a day at the park. They go on the swings (Over goes over Under) and the seesaw (Under is under Over). They meet a hot-dog dog (who joins them for a hot dog). And then they spot . . . a bear! (Unbearable!) But is he really the overall scary creature they first understand him to be?

In this hilariously punny story that will have readers laughing out loud as they pick apart the wordplay, a pair of pals overcome their fears as they discover that friendship underpins all.

Why I like this book:

Too punny for words!! ha ha! Super sparse text with a simple tale about not judging others and friendship, and hilarious wordplay to present compound words to kids in the best way possible, through a cute whimsical story about a mole, a bird, a dachshund and a bear!

With tinies, you could read this at face value and they will love it, especially the repetition of over and under. With school-age youngsters, they will have so much fun recognizing compound words they know, and learning new ones. Of course, all the expressive illustrations add to the humor of the text.

Not only a great read-aloud with a sweet message, but also an excellent mentor text for ELA classes.


The book includes an author note in the back matter with a list of compound words and definitions, to find in the text. Classroom and reading teachers will be sure to reach for Over, Bear! Under, Where? I personally, would even use it in middle school. 😉

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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9 Responses to Over, Bear! Under, Where? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Good to see Julie has written a hilarious new picture book. I love fun wordplay as much as kids do! Will definitely check this book out as I have lots of greats now in the age range. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I was wondering who would be first to recommend this one. Great review and suggested activities (it definitely works for all ages), Julie. 🙂

  3. Jilanne F Hoffmann says:

    I have yet to read this book! Thanks for the reminder, Joanna. And now that I think about it, I thought I’d ordered it from a bookstore in CO, so I could get one that’s signed…..hmmm. It’s so hard to keep track of my acquisitions, LOL.

    • Joanna says:

      Yeah, may be time to follow that up. I borrowed this from the faithful SFPL as I am sadly on the move again this summer (news to come when more sure) and cannot take books with me.

  4. I love books with lots of word play – can’t believe I haven’t gotten my paws on this one yet!

  5. Thank you, Joanna, for sharing OVER, BEAR! UNDER, WHERE? I’m so glad you found it punny. 🙂

  6. Andrea Mack says:

    I love that there are so many layers to this book! So great to see you featuring it here.

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