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Little Bear

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Enter the world of Little Bear. Children will be entranced by Little Bear's trip to the moon, his birthday party, and his wishes and adventures.This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny and strikingly childlike bear cub and his friends. The combination of Else Holmelund Minarik's simple, yet eloquent, stories and Maurice Sendak's Enter the world of Little Bear. Children will be entranced by Little Bear's trip to the moon, his birthday party, and his wishes and adventures.This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny and strikingly childlike bear cub and his friends. The combination of Else Holmelund Minarik's simple, yet eloquent, stories and Maurice Sendak's warm, tender illustrations have made this beloved character an enduring favorite among beginning readers.


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Enter the world of Little Bear. Children will be entranced by Little Bear's trip to the moon, his birthday party, and his wishes and adventures.This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny and strikingly childlike bear cub and his friends. The combination of Else Holmelund Minarik's simple, yet eloquent, stories and Maurice Sendak's Enter the world of Little Bear. Children will be entranced by Little Bear's trip to the moon, his birthday party, and his wishes and adventures.This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny and strikingly childlike bear cub and his friends. The combination of Else Holmelund Minarik's simple, yet eloquent, stories and Maurice Sendak's warm, tender illustrations have made this beloved character an enduring favorite among beginning readers.

30 review for Little Bear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Yes, I vaguely but nostalgically do remember Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear from the time we immigrated from Germany to Canada when I was ten. My sister (who was five at the time) received the book as a present when she started grade one in September 1976, but I ended up hijacking it for a while, as I wanted to practice reading English and Little Bear was at that time just the right level of difficulty for me. And truth be told, I actually was more than a bit embarrassed and even rather an Yes, I vaguely but nostalgically do remember Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear from the time we immigrated from Germany to Canada when I was ten. My sister (who was five at the time) received the book as a present when she started grade one in September 1976, but I ended up hijacking it for a while, as I wanted to practice reading English and Little Bear was at that time just the right level of difficulty for me. And truth be told, I actually was more than a bit embarrassed and even rather angry at having to read a book such as this, such as Little Bear at the age of ten, seeing that I was reading advanced children's literature in German before we immigrated to Canada, but Little Bear really did much improve my English and both Else Minarik's narrative and Maurice Sendak's illustrations also were just so incredibly sweet and evocative that I absolutely did fall in love with Little Bear, his mother and the other characters. However, there is one thing I found strange then, and still consider a bit strange now with regard to Little Bear. Why was Mother Bear always fully dressed? Even in the story where Little Bear's mother tells her son that he really does not need a coat, that his pelt is his coat and his covering, she herself is fully clothed (and in a full length dress at that).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    I missed a lot of the classics as a child. I'm making up for it now. I love the simple artwork of Maurice Sendak. He was so gifted. This is four stories about little bear that all tie together at the end for beginning readers. Little bear plays in the snow, has a birthday party, goes to the moon and goes to bed. There is simple fun in these stories from a different time. The nephew enjoys Little bear most, but they both were interested in this story. I missed a lot of the classics as a child. I'm making up for it now. I love the simple artwork of Maurice Sendak. He was so gifted. This is four stories about little bear that all tie together at the end for beginning readers. Little bear plays in the snow, has a birthday party, goes to the moon and goes to bed. There is simple fun in these stories from a different time. The nephew enjoys Little bear most, but they both were interested in this story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    This book provided one of my most memorable and most treasured moments in the classroom this last summer. Me: "So how would you get to the moon?" Entering first grade student: "Well, I would take the bus to the end of the line and get a transfer to the moon." Only in San Francisco! :) This book provided one of my most memorable and most treasured moments in the classroom this last summer. Me: "So how would you get to the moon?" Entering first grade student: "Well, I would take the bus to the end of the line and get a transfer to the moon." Only in San Francisco! :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I love Little Bear! And his mother! These sweet, humorous and thoughtful stories are a gem among I Can Read Books and truly deserve their status as a children's classic. Minarik's warm, witty stories pair beautifully with Sendak's charming illustrations (cozily old-fashioned and capturing all of the imagination of the story, yet I appreciate that the bears look like *real* bears--albeit with clothes on). I think my favorite story is the one where Little Bear wants to fly to the moon, but all the I love Little Bear! And his mother! These sweet, humorous and thoughtful stories are a gem among I Can Read Books and truly deserve their status as a children's classic. Minarik's warm, witty stories pair beautifully with Sendak's charming illustrations (cozily old-fashioned and capturing all of the imagination of the story, yet I appreciate that the bears look like *real* bears--albeit with clothes on). I think my favorite story is the one where Little Bear wants to fly to the moon, but all the stories are good (I remember being especially enchanted, as a little girl, with the one where Little Bear gets his coat) and I appreciate how the love between mother and child is reinforced through each. I also read A Kiss for Little Bear some time ago and I think I might actually prefer it to this short story collection, but I remain a loving Little Bear fan and plan to continue the series, feeling confident I will enjoy them all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julian Defries

    First book I read by myself. My level of reading is still about the same. I point to the words and speak the story out loud, struggling with anything more than two syllables. I still scribble in books too with crayons. My Mum now refuses to read this with me at bedtime. Well she is 82 after all! Birthday soup will remain part of my inner child forever.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Else Holmelund Minarik's five Little Bear books, which followed their eponymous ursine hero through some of the adventures of childhood, were one of the staples of my own personal library as a girl, and I recall reading them over and over again, until my copies fell apart. Gentle and reassuring, they are also wonderfully and subtly humorous, offering a perfectly realized depiction of a young child's interaction with the people and places in his own small world. Like subsequent installments, this Else Holmelund Minarik's five Little Bear books, which followed their eponymous ursine hero through some of the adventures of childhood, were one of the staples of my own personal library as a girl, and I recall reading them over and over again, until my copies fell apart. Gentle and reassuring, they are also wonderfully and subtly humorous, offering a perfectly realized depiction of a young child's interaction with the people and places in his own small world. Like subsequent installments, this first title contains four stories, each of which gently highlights some reality of child life. In What Will Little Bear Wear?, our little hero repeatedly brings his sartorial troubles to Mother Bear, confident in her ability to solve the problem, only to learn eventually that he had what he needed all along. Birthday Soup plays with the common childhood fear of having one's birthday forgotten, allowing Little Bear the opportunity to make something for himself, before reassurance (and cake!) are offered. Little Bear Goes to the Moon sees the adorable bear setting off to have an adventure far away, discovering upon his return that playing a stranger is only fun if the strength of love and home are a solid reality, behind the make-believe. And finally, Little Bear's Wish finds the ursine mother and son enjoying the intimacy of bedtime, as Little Bear learns that some wishes are more likely to be granted than others, and that Mother Bear has wishes of her own. Originally published in 1957, Little Bear was the very first entry in HarperCollins' iconic I Can Read collection, which to this day is considered one of the best beginning reader series available. It was an auspicious beginning, as it perfectly captures the gentle rhythms of childhood exploration and retreat, and of the child's bond with his mother. Rereading it as an adult, I was struck by the often humorous nature of the exchanges between Little Bear and Mother Bear, with their sly back-and-forth dialogue. Text and artwork - the latter supplied by the immensely talented Maurice Sendak, whose Where the Wild Things Are offers another perceptive depiction of childhood reality - make it clear that Mother Bear knows and understands her son's need for both freedom and safety: his desire to explore the outside world and then return to her. The sympathy for the child perspective that is evident here never feels condescending, however, and even though this is a book for younger children, the author respects her audience enough to be honest with them about some of the limitations - not every wish will be granted, for instance - that they will inevitably confront. Beautifully written and illustrated, Little Bear is more than deserving of its status as a classic of children's literature, and belongs in every young person's library! Highly, highly recommended to all beginning readers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    This book was read to me so many times that phrases entered the family lexicon, particularly, "Birthday soup is good to eat but not as good as birthday cake" and "You can't have that wish, my Little Bear." Hmmm, maybe I'd better make sure my nephews own a copy. This book was read to me so many times that phrases entered the family lexicon, particularly, "Birthday soup is good to eat but not as good as birthday cake" and "You can't have that wish, my Little Bear." Hmmm, maybe I'd better make sure my nephews own a copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mya

    It is always refreshing to read a classic. A wonderful read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    This collection of four little stories about Little Bear and his mother are quite cute. I can see why this book is still going strong half a century after it was first published. I think my favourite story here is "Little Bear Goes to the Moon". It's kind of silly, but in a gentle sort of way. Little Bear always has Mother Bear to come home to, even when he leaves the planet! One thing I don't understand is why "Birthday Soup" is written in the present tense while the three other stories are in th This collection of four little stories about Little Bear and his mother are quite cute. I can see why this book is still going strong half a century after it was first published. I think my favourite story here is "Little Bear Goes to the Moon". It's kind of silly, but in a gentle sort of way. Little Bear always has Mother Bear to come home to, even when he leaves the planet! One thing I don't understand is why "Birthday Soup" is written in the present tense while the three other stories are in the past tense. That's probably my main complaint with this volume. Overall, Little Bear is a charming storybook from a simpler time. It's held up well, despite being around since 1957! Quotable moment:

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    First book I remember reading. So I gave it 5 stars. I remember sitting in my bedroom, wanting Daddy to read to me. I convinced him to get off the couch and come sit on the bed with me and read. So he did but I made the mistake of reading to him instead of waiting for him to read it to me and he said "Well if you can read this, why did you need me in here?". I should have played dumb for just a little bit longer. . . .I wish I still had my old copies of these books. First book I remember reading. So I gave it 5 stars. I remember sitting in my bedroom, wanting Daddy to read to me. I convinced him to get off the couch and come sit on the bed with me and read. So he did but I made the mistake of reading to him instead of waiting for him to read it to me and he said "Well if you can read this, why did you need me in here?". I should have played dumb for just a little bit longer. . . .I wish I still had my old copies of these books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Probably my favorite children's book of all time. I'm guessing it's somewhat boring for children but it is a really good right before nap time book. I cannot how beautiful Little Bear's relationship to Mother Bear is. Maurice Sendak captured it perfectly and I love how gentle and fun Mother Bear's responses to Little Bear are. I don't care if I sound like a sissy. Probably my favorite children's book of all time. I'm guessing it's somewhat boring for children but it is a really good right before nap time book. I cannot how beautiful Little Bear's relationship to Mother Bear is. Maurice Sendak captured it perfectly and I love how gentle and fun Mother Bear's responses to Little Bear are. I don't care if I sound like a sissy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Desi

    I loved this book as a child, and now JP does too (and Birthday Soup is our mutual favorite). It is oft-demanded at bedtime.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Nice beginning readers book

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    I recently read this book with my son. In many ways it was like a trip down memory lane. I remember reading these books with my youngest brother. I also remember watching the animated series with my oldest when she was young. My son and I read this book alternating pages. And we would read a chapter or two a day. He loved the stories. And we have read the book through twice now, and will likely read it many times more. Both the author and illustrator of this book had very prolific output during I recently read this book with my son. In many ways it was like a trip down memory lane. I remember reading these books with my youngest brother. I also remember watching the animated series with my oldest when she was young. My son and I read this book alternating pages. And we would read a chapter or two a day. He loved the stories. And we have read the book through twice now, and will likely read it many times more. Both the author and illustrator of this book had very prolific output during their careers. And they died just a few months apart. I know that we have read many books illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and his illustrations are wonderful. But after read this one we will need to track down some of the 40 plus books that Else wrote. There is something so compelling about simple fun stories that my son loves. And love this book he did. This volume has 4 shorter stories: What Will Little Bear Wear? Birthday Soup Little Bear Goes to the Moon Little Bear's Wish These books are geared to readers 4-8 years of age. At 8 my son could read the whole book but loves sharing stories. But to be honest even as an adult there is something really enjoyable in these stories. This is a great little read for the young and the young at heart. My son really loved this book. It was one of 6 in a box set he got for reading 10 days this summer. It was really interesting watching how excited he was with the story and the illustrations. And I can give it 2 thumbs up! Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andd Becker

    This is a perfect book. The four stories work well together, culminating in Mother Bear's reference to three of the stories. The illustrations by Maurice Sendak are outstanding. Mother Bear and Little Bear could be any mother and any child conversing about ordinary things such as what to wear; what to make on one's birthday; taking an imaginary trip to the moon; making wishes that will not come true (sit on cloud/fly; find Viking boat; find tunnel to China; go to a castle, in a big red car); and This is a perfect book. The four stories work well together, culminating in Mother Bear's reference to three of the stories. The illustrations by Maurice Sendak are outstanding. Mother Bear and Little Bear could be any mother and any child conversing about ordinary things such as what to wear; what to make on one's birthday; taking an imaginary trip to the moon; making wishes that will not come true (sit on cloud/fly; find Viking boat; find tunnel to China; go to a castle, in a big red car); and making a wish that will come true -- wishing that Mother Bear would tell a story to him. What happens next is what makes the book perfect: Mother Bear recounts three of the prior stories. Filled with the happy thought that Mother Bear did not forget his birthday, and remembering the birthday cake, Little Bear is in a receptive mood for Mother Bear's suggestion that he do what will make her happy -- go to sleep. Charming. Perfect.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    This was the only book I read over and over again that it got torn apart and right now I am pretty sure I don't have it anymore but I will probably go out and buy again. I adored Little Bear, both the book AND the TV show on Nick Jr. when I was younger. My grandmother was the only one who understood my love for the bear and was the one who bought me the book and I read it countless times. I will never forget this book. Thank you, Minarik, for creating Little Bear. This was the only book I read over and over again that it got torn apart and right now I am pretty sure I don't have it anymore but I will probably go out and buy again. I adored Little Bear, both the book AND the TV show on Nick Jr. when I was younger. My grandmother was the only one who understood my love for the bear and was the one who bought me the book and I read it countless times. I will never forget this book. Thank you, Minarik, for creating Little Bear.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    I remember reading and loving this book, and all the Little Bear books, when I was 6-8 years old.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Little Bear is nice and sweet and funny. My kids really enjoyed this. There is a lot of repetition in the text so beginning readers can gain confidence in reading faster.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    One of the best books for children!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    I had a tribes of stuffed animals as a child; Little Bear's exploits were always a source of inspiration to my play. I had a tribes of stuffed animals as a child; Little Bear's exploits were always a source of inspiration to my play.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was one of my all time favorite books as a kid, and I was delighted to read it to my own children. Long live Little Bear!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    I love Little Bear because I did when I was five, but how weird is this Victorian bear family?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

    One of my favorite books from my childhood.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    Cute book with four stories (or chapters) that will entertain young children and is a great building block for early readers. This version came with a CD, which is fun to listen to and follow along in the book. I'm sure I read this as a child, but I remembered the illustrations more than the stories themselves. Jan 2012 update: Our youngest brought this book home from her first grade class as part of her reading homework. It wasn't much of a challenge for her, but we all enjoyed reading it togeth Cute book with four stories (or chapters) that will entertain young children and is a great building block for early readers. This version came with a CD, which is fun to listen to and follow along in the book. I'm sure I read this as a child, but I remembered the illustrations more than the stories themselves. Jan 2012 update: Our youngest brought this book home from her first grade class as part of her reading homework. It wasn't much of a challenge for her, but we all enjoyed reading it together again. This story was selected as one of the books for the November 2012 - Classic Picture Book Characters reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads. September 2016 update: reread this book and used it for one of my papers for my children's literature class, as part of my MLIS program (school library specialization).

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny bear cub & his friends in four stories. Else Holmelund Minarik's simple stories and Maurice Sendak's warm illustrations make Little Bear a favorite among beginning readers. (Goodreads Summary) Little Bear (Little Bear #1) by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak is a chapter book with 4 simple stories. The 4 chapters are: 1) What will Little Bear Wear?; 2)Birthday Soup; 3) Little Bear Goes to the This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny bear cub & his friends in four stories. Else Holmelund Minarik's simple stories and Maurice Sendak's warm illustrations make Little Bear a favorite among beginning readers. (Goodreads Summary) Little Bear (Little Bear #1) by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak is a chapter book with 4 simple stories. The 4 chapters are: 1) What will Little Bear Wear?; 2)Birthday Soup; 3) Little Bear Goes to the Moon; and 4)Little Bear's Wish. The text has lots of repetition, there's a clear background for the text and Sendak's classic illustrations add to the story. Highlights of the book are a homemade space helmet and a surprise birthday cake. For beginning readers with experience with reading sentences, and fans of Little Bear and Sendak.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Acton

    This is a chapter book. The first chapter is about Little Bear wanting something to put on, but he realizes that in the end, he only wants his own fur. The second chapter is about Little Bear's birthday. He thinks his mom forgot about his birthday, so he decides to make Birthday Soup for everyone when they come over. Once they started eating the Birthday Soup, his mom came in with a giant cake. The next chapter is called "Little Bear Goes to the Moon". This is about Little Bear trying to go to t This is a chapter book. The first chapter is about Little Bear wanting something to put on, but he realizes that in the end, he only wants his own fur. The second chapter is about Little Bear's birthday. He thinks his mom forgot about his birthday, so he decides to make Birthday Soup for everyone when they come over. Once they started eating the Birthday Soup, his mom came in with a giant cake. The next chapter is called "Little Bear Goes to the Moon". This is about Little Bear trying to go to the moon. The last chapter is about Little Bear wishing a bunch of things, such as having vikings take him on a journey. Eventually, he realizes he only wants a story from his mom. I would recommend this book because it is really funny.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I still remember the thrill of reading this book by myself when I was about five or six. Little Bear is laid out in chapters, albeit very short ones, in which he visits his grandparents, makes a birthday meal, and other brief activities, with little quirky notes throughout. It is a very enjoyable little book. Maurice Sendak's illustrations add immeasurably to its value. I still remember the thrill of reading this book by myself when I was about five or six. Little Bear is laid out in chapters, albeit very short ones, in which he visits his grandparents, makes a birthday meal, and other brief activities, with little quirky notes throughout. It is a very enjoyable little book. Maurice Sendak's illustrations add immeasurably to its value.

  28. 4 out of 5

    AgnÄ—

    2.5 out of 5 I cannot get over the fact of how discouraging the Mother Bear was. It's not a big deal, but the lines like that made me kind of sad: "I'm going to fly to the moon," said Little Bear. "Fly!" said Mother Bear. "You can't fly." ... "And maybe," said Mother Bear, "you are a little fat bear cub with no wings and no feathers." 2.5 out of 5 I cannot get over the fact of how discouraging the Mother Bear was. It's not a big deal, but the lines like that made me kind of sad: "I'm going to fly to the moon," said Little Bear. "Fly!" said Mother Bear. "You can't fly." ... "And maybe," said Mother Bear, "you are a little fat bear cub with no wings and no feathers."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Little Bear is a picture book that contains four stories in it. Although I read all four stories, I will summarize the first story titled, "What Will Little Bear Wear?" The story is about a bear who goes outside to play and gets cold. The little bear comes inside several times and tells his mother that he is cold playing outside. Each time that little bear comes inside because he is cold, his mother gives him another article of clothing to put on to keep warm when he is playing outside. Finally, Little Bear is a picture book that contains four stories in it. Although I read all four stories, I will summarize the first story titled, "What Will Little Bear Wear?" The story is about a bear who goes outside to play and gets cold. The little bear comes inside several times and tells his mother that he is cold playing outside. Each time that little bear comes inside because he is cold, his mother gives him another article of clothing to put on to keep warm when he is playing outside. Finally, the mother has given the little bear everything that she can think of to keep him warm, and little bear decides that what he really needs is a fur coat. Little bear removes all of the clothing that the mother bear has given him, and goes out to play as he originally was in his own fur coat. This time, however, little bear is warm. This book is an example of a picture book because the text is brief, and the illustrations greatly enhance the story narrative. This book is repetitive and would a good resource for beginning and struggling readers who could benefit from the repetitive nature, as well as the illustrations to help read the story. This book is a good text for teaching young students what is needed to keep warm outside. Although the bear ultimately decides that his fur coat provides enough heat, he keeps coming back inside when he is cold. When reading this story, I kept thinking about the young students at the school (and my own children as well), and how they don't always like to take the time to dress in all of their winter layers. It takes time to dress warmly, and the layers make it more difficult to participate in the students' usual activities. This book provides a reminder of why all of the layers that the students wear outside in the winter are needed to keep warm. Another theme that a teacher could use this book to help teach is contentment and being happy with what you have. Bear started out with all that he needed to stay warm (his fur coat), but kept wanting things: a hat, a coat, and snow pants. In the end, he realized that he really didn't need or want any of those things after all, and he was content in his original fur coat. I think that humans in general, but specifically younger children, tend to want things. The length of my children's Christmas lists can attest to that. I think that it is a good lesson to learn to be happy with what you have because that is often all that you need anyway.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This, I can honestly say, was one of my favorite middle reader books when I was growing up. I just loved Little Bear, Mother Bear and all his friends. I know that it was mostly because of Maurice Senadak and his amazing illustrations. They were simple but intricate line drawings but they were colored in which made them pop. I like the borders on each page. It was beautiful scroll work that drew your eyes to the text and illustrations. Mr. Sendak brought Little Bear to life for me! I also really This, I can honestly say, was one of my favorite middle reader books when I was growing up. I just loved Little Bear, Mother Bear and all his friends. I know that it was mostly because of Maurice Senadak and his amazing illustrations. They were simple but intricate line drawings but they were colored in which made them pop. I like the borders on each page. It was beautiful scroll work that drew your eyes to the text and illustrations. Mr. Sendak brought Little Bear to life for me! I also really liked the story. Little Bear asking his mom to make him all of those clothes and then just playing in his fur anyway was silly but entertaining. It was so cute when he thought his mom had forgot his Birthday Cake, so he made Birthday Soup. Mother Bear surprised him with a cake and he was so happy. I also liked it when he talked about flying to the moon and Mother Bear played along up until he wanted lunch. I loved that he wished for all of those crazy things and really only wanted a story. I also liked the fact that she just summed up all of the things he did in the book as the story. Still one of my favorites!

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