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Old Bear

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,523 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Snug and warm, curled and furry, Old Bear sleeps.

Red, orange, and brown leaves fly through the air, and it is snowing hard. Old Bear doesn't notice.

Old Bear is dreaming about being a cub again. He is dreaming about the beauty of the world. He is dreaming of everything he loves about the forest that is his home.

Turn the page and you will see!
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Greenwillow Books
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In a Blue Room by Jim AverbeckWe are the Ship by Kadir NelsonWabi Sabi by Mark ReibsteinOld Bear by Kevin HenkesHow I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
2009 Caldecott Contenders
4th out of 37 books — 91 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Best Picture Books
429th out of 1,192 books — 943 voters

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Community Reviews

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Readers are immersed into the warm, colorful and imaginative pages beautifully illustrated by Kevin Henkes in Old Bear. After several readings of Old Bear, including a read-aloud for my first-grade class, I have concluded that it is a children’s picture book worthy of consideration for the Caldecott Medal.
Few words are needed to tell the story of the old bear sleeping through the winter and dreaming of his younger, cub days. The seasons and color schemes change as we turn each page. Children...more
Gosh, I just want to snuggle up to Old Bear! Isn't he the cutest!? The story is simple and whimsical--Old Bear hibernates and has fanciful dreams of being a cub again, sleeping in a flower in spring, catching blueberry-raindrops on his tongue in summer. The illustrations are warm and interesting and capture the curiosity and appreciation for nature that Bear feels.
The leaves on the inside front cover and the flowers on the inside back cover orient the reader to what season we are in. The title page introduces us to a friendly-looking bear who is sitting fat and happy, and as we turn to the verso and dedication page, our fat and happy bear is beginning his journey into a long winter's nap. The illustrations are easily readable, and very expressive without words.

As the story continues and the text is added, Henkes does a marvelous job of telling the story...more
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes is a hibernation story about a bear who dreams his way through the winter.

As leaves fly and snowfall begins, Old Bear finds a hollow tree and quickly falls asleep. Old Bear dreams of the four seasons, picturing himself as a cub sleeping in a giant pink Spring crocus. Bear's Summer dream features a daisy as the sun and blueberry rainfall. The Autumn dream features the world in yellows, oranges, and reds including the birds, fish and water. Bear's Winter dream shows the wo...more
Kristen Badger
Henkes, K. (2008). Old bear. New York: Greenwillow Harper Collins.

A breathtakingly beautiful picture book about a hibernating bear dreaming about the four seasons. He wakes up to find that the season has really changed.

This book would be great to use when teaching younger students about the four seasons and the traits of each season.


From Follett Titlewave: Reviews & Awards

ALA Notable Children's Books 2009

Kirkus Reviews 07/15/08

Booklist starred 06/15/08

New York Times 12/21/08

Sweet and very quiet. But my rambunctious grandsons loved it and have asked to read it again and again.
A very charming and beautiful book about the seasonal dreams of a hibernating bear.
Mary Lourdes
Book Review 2 – Picture Book

Author: Henkes, Kevin
Title: Old Bear
Publisher: Harper Collins
Imprint: Greenwillow Books
Edition: library
13 Digit ISBN: 978-0-06-155206
Price: $17.99
Number of Pages: unpaged

Includes: illustrations

Rating: 4 stars

Format: Prose
Genre: Easy Fiction

Old Bear falls asleep for the winter. He dreams of spring and summer. When he wakes up, it truly is spring. The language of the story is simple, but with imagery. The artwork is in the pastel style. The use of color is great; it re...more
Nancy O'Toole
Old Bear tells the story of a bear hibernating during the winter. As he sleeps, he is filled with memories of past seasons. When he awakes, he discovers that it is already spring. Old Bear is a gentle book, filled with soft, friendly illustrations painted in pastel watercolor and outlined with darker ink. The book differentiates between the present and the past through a clever change in layout and color. The scenes in the cave are single page illustrations, outlined in black, with black text on...more
karrie's corner
The leaves on the inside front cover and the flowers on the inside back cover orient the reader to what season we are in. The title page introduces us to a friendly-looking bear who is sitting fat and happy, and as we turn to the verso and dedication page, our fat and happy bear is beginning his journey into a long winter's nap. The illustrations are easily readable, and very expressive without words.

As the story continues and the text is added, Henkes does a marvelous job of telling the story...more
Alyssa Pierce
Kevin Henkes does a wonderful job of showing Old bear experiencing hibernation for the first time. In this book, the reader goes through all of the dreams of Old Bear during his hibernation. Within these dreams, the reader sees how Old Bear’s imagination fuels what he sees. For example, during summer a daisy is the sun and it was raining blueberries. It is endearing to see these different ideas represent what we know. He longs for being awake and a part of the world. We see his idea of spring, s...more
Old Bear; Kevin Henkes (2008) Harper Collins Children

Late one fall, even before the first snow fall, Old Bear curled up in a den for a long winter's nap. Off into a deep sleep, full of pleasant dreams, he dreams of springtime and his earlier days as a playful cub -- huge colorful flowers as large as trees. Summertime with the sun as big and bright as a giant daisy, and autumn dreams with all the colorful reds, orange and browns. Even the cold winter made him dream of ice and pretty bright stars....more
Kevin Henkes is (just my humble opinion here) one of the greatest children's book authors out there. I truly think he will be, deserves to be, canonized alongside the heavyweights: Sendak, Ezra Keats, Wiesner and Elisha Cooper. Mr. Henkes understands children, and doesn't forget what it was like to be one. His art also equals his immense talent for writing. Highly recommend just for the art.
I admit, I was a little slow to warm up to Kevin Henkes book. Besides "Lilly and the Plastic Purple Purse", and "Kitten Moon" I wasn't very familiar with his books. I didn't like some at first and! I am a fan! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the illustrations in this book and I love the story! I love the seasons it talks about and the life of the bear! Fun one!
Rosa Cline
In this story Old Bear was sleeping and he started dreaming; he dreamed about each season of the year and what he enjoys most about them all. And when he wakes up it's spring and he thinks he's still dreaming when he's not. (My review isn't written well, but it was a nice story to read outloud to my 2 year old granddaughter)
Old Bear is a picture book that has received numerous awards and recognitions. The intended reading age range for this book is (N)Nursery, ages birth through 5 years old and that may extend to the (P)Primary age range from 5 years through 12 years old.

The book describes the hibernation season for bears. During Old Bears hibernation he dreamed through the summer, spring and fall and when he awoke all the snow was gone.

I have given this book a 4 star rating for the illustrations that were displaye...more
Bethley Giles
Henkes, K. (2008). Old Bear. New York: Greenwillow Books.
School Library Journal Starred Review, Best Book

Old Bear is the story of a bear who goes into hibernation and dreams about experiencing each of the seasons as a young cub. While I enjoyed this book, the story did not live up to my expectations. However,illustrations are beautiful, with bold lines and bright colors. This book would be excellent for a unit on hibernation or the seasons, or language arts lessons on imagery.
A delightful take on waht goes on when a bear hibernates. Henkes takes us intot he bear's mind, where he dreams (in vivid colors) of each season, ending with winter. By this time, it's spring outside and Old Bear is thrilled to find it's not just a dream anymore. I really enjoyed the silliness of the dreams, as well as the use of color in each season. The illustrations are done in the style of A Good Day and Kitten's First Full Moon, which fits the style (bears should be fat, right?). The endpap...more
I read the board book version of this book. I loved the colors. This is a great way to teach children about hibernation. The text was beautifully and poetically written. I loved the book when it said that "the sky was blazing with stars of all colors."
Beautiful images, coloured to create a sense of each of the seasons, makes this book a pleasure to read. Old Bear dreams of the passing seasons while tucked away for the winter. He awakens to find a beautiful spring blooming instead of the anticipated snow.
Melynda Moore
What: This book is about Old Bear and what he dreams while he is hibernating. As he dreams, he moves throughout the different seasons. When he wakes up again and steps out of his cave, it is finally springtime.

So What: This book could introduce topics such as hibernating and/or the seasons. Student's must know what happens during different seasons and how the environment around them changes.

Now What: The students could each create their own diorama of a season of their choice. In order to make...more
Kathryn Brewer
This book is a good children's book with nice illustrations. It focuses on bears and dreams. It's a quick read so it's an easy book to fit into a busy schedule if the class is focusing on animals.
Tim Vandenberg
An Exuberant, Joyful, Dreamy Celebration of the colors & joys of life! Henkes is a Master!

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Picture Book (2009).

HIGHLY recommended!
Old Bear falls asleep for the winter and dreams that he is a cub again, experiencing each of the seasons, which are shown in colorful but gentle watercolor and ink illustrations. The brief text compliments the pictures of the dreamlike and slightly exaggerated seasons, as Old Bear naps in a giant pink crocus during spring or opens his mouth to a rainfall of blueberries in the summer. Both as an old bear and as a cub, the bear has a friendly presence that puts you right in the dream. The images o...more
William Dickerson
A simple talk about a hibernating bear dreaming about the past year. It's a great too to talk about the seasons, and hibernation.
I'm not a big fan of all Kevin Henkes' books, but, lately, his picture books have been astonishingly lovely.

Old Bear, like Kitten's First Full Moon, is a sweet, gentle tale, but unlike Kitten, Old Bear is at the end of his life and he dreams about becoming a cub again. He first dreams that Winter has passed into Spring and that he is sleeping inside a giant crocus. Kevin Henkes takes us through the rest of the seasons with the same amount of imagination, humor and brilliant-hued illustrations....more
This book is not one of my favorites. The Bears about all the seasons so it might be good for a lesson about the seasons.
I would give either one and a half or two stars to this book.
Kevin Henkes has done a stunning job of crafting the poignant illustrations found in the pages of this very nice, very simple story about a bear hibernating through the winter while dreaming about all the seasons of his life, including when he was a young cub. The renderings of each of these seasons will amaze fans of picture book art, and once again give fresh perspective to the incredible versatility of Kevin Henkes. The style of h...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shawna Kopp
This is a good book to share with students when talking about a nature segment or how we have seasons and how they change. The colors in this book really represent each season beautifully and will help children connect with their experiences they share during each season.
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Kevin Henkes became an author/illustrator when he was nineteen years old, working on a card table in his bedroom.
Today he's the author of many award-winning picture books and novels.
More about Kevin Henkes...
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