"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise... For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certa...

We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

Sunday, November 22, 2015 BookBairn 9 Comments

"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise... For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because today's the day the teddy bears have their stories read!"

I recently bought a copy of 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury as it brought back memories of my own childhood acting out this campfire song as a family by swishing and swashing and splishing and splashing and tiptoeing not over or under but always through each obstacle on our way to catch that elusive bear. What a brilliant adventure story for the whole family, brought to life through actions and props along the way! I thoroughly enjoy Michael Rosen's version of the story which puts to use great onomatopoeic words and repetition, building up to that moment when the family come face-to-face with a bear. Like many great stories, this one is made better by a great storyteller - you really have to throw yourself into this story to bring it to life for children. For me, the illustrations are beautiful and artistic but not as exciting or colourful as this book deserves and did not particularly appeal to BookBairn. Perhaps she is spoiled by some of the fantastic illustrations from other stories we have read or it couuld be that she is still young (still loving her high-contrast baby books) she seems to prefer the bold, distinct and colourful pictures of other stories. It's not a bedtime favourite though because it's too wild and gets her over-excited pre-sleep. Better fun to be had when she is full of energy!

But all this bear-hunting has got me thinking...
There are so many iconic picture books featuring bears and (not that we have any favourites) here are some of our most beloved bears.

The quintessentially British 'Paddington', created by Michael Bond, has sought refuge in our hearts and found a home for life. An almost-fairytale story of a lovable bear who is seeking a new home after stowing away on a ship to escape his native Darkest Peru (which was devastated by disaster). Arriving at Paddington Station, he has nothing but his suitcase, an almost-empty jar of marmalade and a label reading 'please look after this bear. Thank you.'. We would certainly welcome him into our BookBairn household with open arms! The version that we have is rather lenghty in text for BookBairn at the moment, but it would be hard to shorten it without losing the meaning of the story, so probably one for when she's older. The illustrations by R.W. Alley certainly capture the endearing nature of this much-loved bear and are absolutely delightful! I also can't help but mention that this story is particularly poignant in the current climate as the first planeload of refugees fleeing Syria arrived in Scotland this week. This story would be a great way to discuss this subject with younger children. More than fifty years has passed since Paddington was welcomed with open arms and has certainly found refuge in many hearts. We cherish him in our house!

Another bear who has charmed his way out of the book shop and into our lives is 'Hugless Douglas' by David Melling. The first in a fantastic series of books introduces Douglas as an enormous bear cub with an even bigger heart. All he wants is a hug. And the book describes his bear hunt to find the perfect one. This blundering , bumbling bear could not be more irresistible. The illustrations are truly wonderful with a whole cast of characters to adore. The bright, colourful and expressive artwork will appeal to youngsters of all ages! If Douglas is ever looking for a hug again, he can just pop round our house and I know a wee BookBairn (and her mummy) who would willingly oblige!

And finally, we can't talk bears without mentioning Winnie the Pooh! Our favourite cuddly wuddly honey-fiend of a friend! I love these stories, and although they are much too long to appeal to BookBairn at the moment, she does have a fantastic 1 2 3 counting book featuring illustrations by Andrew Grey which are true to the original characters by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard! What a great gift from a well-read friend (thank you!). This is a great book for introducing all the characters from the stories to BookBairn as well as introducing counting skills. For me, Winnie the Pooh will always be my favourite bear!

I wonder which bear will be BookBairn's favourite when is grows up. Perhaps one of these charismatic characters? Or perhaps she will prefer a new, yet-to-be-created bear? Who knows? All I know for certain is that we will be on a bear hunt to find it!

We would love if you could join us on our bear hunt by commenting below with your favourite bear!

Love Mummy and BookBairn x


  1. I remember going on a bear hunt with BookBairn's Mummy for a Care Bear - I think it was called Love a Lot or something like that. She ended up with quite a collection. Is Rupert the Bear still "on the go"? I thing I remember watching an early tv series but it's fading fast.
    PS - I love BookBairn's tights.

    1. I think Uncle BookBairn was a Rupert the Bear fan. Haven't seen much of him lately which probably means he is due for a comeback!
      PS. - I love the tights too!

  2. We love all the bears that you have chosen. We are huge fans of Old Bear and my daughter loves Little Bear :)


    1. Thanks for reminding me about Old Bear! I loved him growing up. Will need to put these on the 'to read' list!

  3. aaa lovely post, well my favourite bear has to be Winnie the Pooh!! thanks for linking up with #readwithme

  4. I don't know if he's my 'favourite' bear, but the one that made the biggest impact was 'The Dirty Old Teddy' (Enid Blyton). The cover illustration used to scare me to death, and made sure I didn't let my own teddys get too scruffy lest people think they were unloved and throw them away!

    1. Oh no! My teddy's are well-loved, i.e. scruffed up. Although Daddy BookBairn's childhood toy duck is now in two bits and I'm surprised it's never been binned. Never read the Dirty Old Teddy, maybe one to read with BookBairn when she's old enough! Thanks for the tip!