I remember reciting the lines from this book with gusto alongside my classmates in early primary school: “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one…” So it was kind of nice when my twins came home from school this week excited to act out the story for me after reading it in class.
We’re Going on A Bear Hunt was first published 26 years ago, but the words are as catchy as ever. There’s lots of repetition to help children predict what happens next and expressive phrases for little ones to join in, like “uh-uh” and “oh no!”. My three kids – and me too – love the onomatopoeia, joining in to make the sounds of the “swishy swashy” grass, the “squelch squerch” of the mud and the “hooo woooo” of the snow storm.
The illustrations are lovely, alternating between colour and black and white, showing a family of five and their dog as they tackle each new obstacle on their adventure. My Little Man loves the picture of the family peering into the cave, with the toddler tugging his sister’s skirt to get out of there! He’s not silly!
I’d forgotten the ending – it’s full of drama and fun to read.
We’ve got the “sound book” version of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt which was put out to mark the book’s 25th anniversary in 2014. It’s terrific. There’s a row of buttons along the right hand side of the book, with a sound for each part of the adventure. Each button bears an illustration from its corresponding page, making it easy for even my two-year-old to press the right sound to fit where we’re up to in the story.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is listed at number 23 on the Australian Bookseller’s list of Australia’s 50 Favourite Kid’s Books for 2014.
This is a great kid’s book and I’d recommend reading it to children from birth to about aged six and then letting them have a go at reading it to you.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt won the 1989 Smarties Book Prize and a 2011 Mumsnet Best Award.
You can buy the sound book version of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from the Book Depository. There’s also a gift pack which includes a board book and a soft bear.
This book kids love is written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. 40pp. Published in London by Walker Books Ltd, 2014. ISBN: 9781406357387.