Friday, December 7, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Baby Bear's Big Dreams
Author/Illustrator: Jane Yolen/Melissa Sweet
Publisher/Date: Harcourt, Inc./2007
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Preschool-Grade 1
Themes: Growing up, independence, making choices, imagining the future

Opening: "When I grow up in about a year, my special friends will move in here. We'll play all day and stay up late, and never go to bed by eight."

Synopsis: From Booklist - "Yolen and Sweet follow up Baby Bear's Chairs (2005) and Baby Bear's Books (2006) with a picture book exploring the little bear's optimistic plans. Written in first person from his point of view, the simple text puts forth Baby Bear's dreams of becoming a big bear. At first, his thoughts lean to the immediate, consisting of playing with friends all day, leaving their toys about, and staying up past eight o'clock. But as he thinks about it, the dreams become a little more far-reaching, with a tree house, a camping trip, and a triumphant poetry reading in his future. Full of action, and illustrated with fresh colors and pleasing details, the artwork creates Baby Bear's world as an appealing, even cozy place that children will want to explore visually while listening to the rhythmic, rhyming verse. Written with a good sense of the way young children think and express themselves, the text has a childlike air and reads aloud well. A fine new picture book for Baby Bear fans." Phelan, Carolyn

Why I Love This Book:
What child doesn't dream of what they will do when they possess freedom and independence?  Yolen's playful rhyme seizes child-like dreams of staying up late and not cleaning up the toys, and then the dreams become bigger and more involved, mirroring a child's dramatic play.  The repetition of "When I grow up in a year or two" (three, four, five) and then "When I'm ALL grown, I'll come back home and read aloud my growing poem" brings the book full circle to show the child's love and security at home. This is a sweet read-aloud with fantastic illustrations to explore. The third Baby Bear book on which Yolen and Sweet have collaborated is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch!

Visit Jane Yolen's author site for her words about this lovely title.

Use the phrase "When I grow up..." as a writing prompt.  Connect it to a communities study in the early elementary years as children learn about jobs.

Explore Melissa Sweet's artwork.

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. Oh, this is a great example of a circular story. And such realistic hopes and dreams of a young child.

  2. Can't go wrong with Jane Yolen's books. This looks like a gem. Like you activities. This has such practical application for children.

  3. What a delight! Love that thought "when I grow up in about a year"! Thank you for adding this to our list!

  4. I am also tickled by the line "when I grow up in about a year". My kindergarten kids tell me stories about things they did "when they were just a little kid". I work very hard at keeping a straight face. They do grow up - every year. Sounds like a great book. Library browser, here I come...

  5. This sounds charming, Laura! I love the idea of "when I grow up in about a year" and the full circle ending to when I'm all grown up - lovely! Thanks so much for adding this one to our list!