Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Book Review: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr./illus. by Eric Carle (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967)

brown bear Recommended for ages 0-5

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a children’s literature classic. An unseen narrator asks different animals what they see; the animals respond that another animal is looking at them, repeating the process throughout the book. The animals are described in terms of color: a brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, a blue horse. The endpapers lead readers into this study in color, with the colors named in the book appearing, striped, across them.

Bill Martin’s repetitive question-and-answer rhyme format, coupled with Eric Carle’s signature hand-painted and layered collage technique, appeals to toddlers and preschoolers alike, giving the animals a textured appearance that makes them stand out on the white background of the page. The font is a simple, black font; the question appears on the left hand page of each spread, and the response on the right. The rhythm of the book is comfortably repetitive, so children know what to expect on each spread. There is a board book version available that is perfect for the tiniest hands.

This is a great book to add to a read-aloud on color and would translate well to a felt board. DLTK’s website offers printable pictures of animals named in the book, complete with instructions on how to use the sheets as felt board characters and can provide an enjoyable, post-story coloring craft. Attendees may enjoy getting a hand stamp with one of the animals named in the book, to have as a memento of the storytime, and a guide to the book on the Macmillan website features a printable matching game where readers can connect the color to the animal mentioned in the book.

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle collaborated on other children’s classics, Polar Bear, Polar  Bear, What Do You Hear?, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What  Do You See? and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? that fall into the same cadence and predictive text, providing opportunities for additional read-alouds.

The author’s website offers information on school visits and the Bill Martin model for reading, which is valuable reading for anyone who reads to young children.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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