Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr/Eric Carle

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? is a colourful first book for babies, a great book for a beginner reader and I have also read the English version many times to non native English speaking children.

The Story: Brown Bear is asked what he sees and he responds by saying that he sees a red bird. The red bird sees a yellow duck and so the book moves on introducing a new animal and a new colour on each page until a goldfish sees a teacher who sees children. The children then see all the coloured animals that have been introduced throughout the book.

Eric Carle’s bold, trademark illustrations enhance the repetitive, rhythmic text in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? Each double page spread shows a brightly coloured animal until we meet the teacher and her class at the end of the book when the final page shows all the animals on the double page. The simplicity, repetitive text and bold colours make it a perfect book for babies but the repetition is also good for a beginner reader. The eye catching colour of the animal on a white page provides a simple and uncluttered look for a baby but is also a great picture prompt for a new reader.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Story SnugThis book is a great book for introducing colour and animal vocabulary to babies, young children and non native English speakers. I have read the big version of the book countless times (it is a particularly good book to use in an EFL classroom) and the repetitive text invites the listener to join in. The double spread showing the children provides lots of scope for discussion about eye colour, hair colour and skin colour as children from a variety of cultural backgrounds are represented. As a beginner reader my daughter has rediscovered the book and I have written out some of the sentences and cut them up so that she can read the words, stick them in order then draw her own picture of the animal.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? comes in several formats. We have the little board book but I love the big book version for reading to a class.

Age Range: 1 +

Author: Bill Martin Jr / Illustrator: Eric Carle

I have also used Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? in the classroom. It follows the same format as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?

22 thoughts on “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr/Eric Carle

  1. My son has started French immersion. It sounds like it would be a great book if translated into French. I will have to check it out.


    • It’s amazing how many books Eric Carle has written, I haven’t read all of them and it was a long time before I realised that he only illustrated this book and that Bill Martin Jr is the author.

  2. That’s funny – I looked at the book and immediately said Eric Carle, but I didn’t realize that he didn’t write the text. Was this one of his earlier books? He has such a distinctive style, doesn’t he. My kids and I have read all of his books. They are fanastic! Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

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