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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source


Perhaps it's because they were the inspiration for cute and cuddly teddy bears, but bears have been a mainstay in children's literature, especially since that famous bear of "very little brain," Winnie the Pooh. Here are some of our favorite picture books that feature bears as the main character(s):


1. Though it's a long-time classic, I didn't discover Corduroy until adulthood, but my children and I have really enjoyed it. It's nostalgic in terms of the way that many children look at their toys -- as sentient beings that must be loved and given a good home. In the end, despite his missing button, Corduroy is united with a caring owner who loves him just the way he is.


2. Little Bear's Friend is a childhood favorite of mine, and I'm sure of many others who have also practiced their reading skills on these books. Written by Else Holmelund Minarik, they are illustrated by Maurice Sendak, which is why Little Bear bears a slight resemblance to Max from Where the Wild Things Are. This book contains four short chapters involving Little Bear's interactions with some of his friends, especially a little girl he meets named Emily, and her doll Lucy.


3. I grew up reading the popular Berenstain Bears series, and this book is something of a spin-off from that, but Bears in the Night is worded simply for preschool-aged children, and is all about demonstrating prepositions. When a bunch of bears are sleeping in bed, they hear a "Whoo!" sound, and creep out the window to investigate. They also go around the lake, through some woods, and up a hill -- then quickly back through it all again when the owl hoots loudly at them!


4. Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson, is an adorable story written in rhyme (with a consistent meter too - yay!), in which a party develops in bear's den while he sleeps winter away. One after another, his friends show up and begin cooking and making merry -- but as the title says, bear snores on. Young children might enjoy repeating the refrain as it comes up. A fun winter tale for preschoolers.


5. By the talented Stead couple, Bear Has a Story to Tell is a cute story of bear and his friends which, like the book above, involves hibernation. Bear has a story to tell his friends, but they are all busy getting ready for winter. So bear helps them. By the time spring comes, bear can't remember his story! Can his friends help him?

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