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Old Bear

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,184 Ratings  ·  246 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 — 92 voters
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Best Picture Books
474th out of 1,857 books — 1,211 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,933)
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Jan 24, 2009 Christy rated it it was amazing

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
Jul 16, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2011 David rated it really liked it
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
I absolutely loved the artwork in this book. As bear dreams about going through the seasons we are presented with wonderful scenes. Both the fall and the winter appealed to me the most. The cover it's self under the sleeve was also lovely.
Emily Ursuliak
Jan 02, 2015 Emily Ursuliak rated it really liked it
This would make a great storytime book for toddlers. There is very little text on the page, but the language is still rich and imaginative. I also enjoy the way colour is used to show different seasons.
Muhuawu wu
Dec 06, 2014 Muhuawu wu rated it really liked it
My favorite book written by Kevin Henkes is Old Bear. I chose Old Bear for many reasons.
First, I liked the illustrations because they were full of vivid color. Also, different colors were used for each season. For example, Mr. Henkes used light blues and white for winter. These color represented the cold and brisk air of winter days.
Another reason is because the illustrations look like the dreamy world Old Bear is dreaming about. The bright colors and big pictures make you feel like you are in a
Emily Sirota
Old bear is reminiscing on the days when he was a cub. He goes back to the seasons when he is a cub, he goes back to the energy he had when he was just a cub. His sweet dreams are all filled with his sweet memories from the past. When he awakes he realizes something...

This is a great story told by Kevin Henkes. The details are insane in this book all the shading, sketching, and painting really show. You can tell the illustrator put lots of effort into the drawings and kept them very bright and h
Emily Nunez-Eddy
Dec 03, 2014 Emily Nunez-Eddy rated it liked it
"Old Bear" is a fun, explorative book for young children, telling the story of a bear, dreaming about the passing of multiple seasons, including winter, spring, fall, and summer, that leaves the reader questioning how the bear will react when he wakes up -- will he be disappointed in what he sees outside, or ecstatic? What will await his eyes when he awakes?
Unlike some of Henkes other books, such as "Kitten's First Full Moon", or "Birds", which are rather simplistic in illustrations, "Old Bear"
Madison Hays
Nov 30, 2014 Madison Hays rated it really liked it
Old Bear is a children's book written by Kevin Henkes. It is about a bear cub that falls asleep and dreams of the different seasons passing by. He is enjoying them all and loves everything about each one. Suddenly he wakes up and realizes that his dream just might have come true! Beautiful colors and flowers surrounded him, how long did the little cub hibernate for?!

The illustrations in this story are very simple yet have a lot of background detail. Watercolor and paint are used to create the p
Antoinette Evans
Apr 25, 2015 Antoinette Evans rated it really liked it
Kevin Henke's paints a picture of warm, fuzzy colors for the reader in Old Bear. With every turn of the page, the reader is immersed into the bright, warm, and elaborate illustrations. Kevin Henkes takes the reader is taken on a journey of the seasons through the hibernating dreams of a bear. Children can relate to the youthfulness in the Old Bear's dreams. Old Bear relates to young children in the celebration of youth. Old Bear highlights the joy of being young, living life as full and energeti ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it
Old Bear curls up in his den for a long winter’s nap. In deep sleep he dreams about springtime summertime and autumn. The Old Bear finally wakes up, and notices it is spring once again. Even thought this book was not told in a poetic form, as I was reading this story I felt like I was reading a poem. This story flows beautifully and includes a lot of descriptive words which is why it gives this book a poem like feel. The illustrations are beautiful. Each season is complimented with an illustrati ...more
Kristen Badger
Jul 22, 2014 Kristen Badger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: schl-5200, primary
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

Eva Kelly
Jan 06, 2016 Eva Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So my rule is, even if you're not a baby, you need to look at the baby [board] books, because you never know WHAT you might find. And THIS one was a really really good one. It's about this old bear who falls asleep and dreams he's a baby, and of course it's a dream, so lots of weird things happen to him, like it's RAINING BLUEBERRIES!!! But then he wakes up and guess what? It's SPRING! And that means he slept through the whole winter. So he missed playing outside in the snow, but he's old so I g ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 08, 2009 karrie's corner rated it really liked it
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
Alyssa Pierce
Oct 04, 2013 Alyssa Pierce rated it liked it
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
Kay Mcgriff
Nov 12, 2014 Kay Mcgriff rated it really liked it
I don't listen in on a discussion about picture books before someone speaks up in praise of Kevin Henkes. Old Bear was the only title on the shelf, so I grabbed it. Old Bear falls asleep in his den for the winter, but his dreams carry him throughout the seasons. I loved the illustrations that brought the simple text to life. I want to nap in flowers as big as trees and catch blueberries on my tongue as they rain from the sky.
Christie Lee
Feb 20, 2015 Christie Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: eled-412
This is a cute little story about the dreams of a hibernating bear. It talks about the seasons, and is calming with sweet illustrations. This would be a great book to read to get the students ready for a writer's workshop about what their dreams might be about, or what they would like to dream about. Also, it would be a great lead in to talk about seasons and also animals that hibernate for the winter.
Mar 27, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-favorite-read
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.
Jun 29, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it
Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Book Award (2009), Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Book (2009)

There's something about these illustrations that are different from any I've ever seen...they're a little brighter, a little bolder. They help tell a quick story about a bear in hibernation and his dreams of the seasons. Nice seasonal storytime to tell in the winter/early spring.
Mar 15, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing
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.
May 21, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it
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!
Nov 23, 2013 Lavonnia rated it really liked it
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
Bethley Giles
Oct 18, 2014 Bethley Giles rated it liked it
Shelves: libs642
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.
Nov 26, 2008 Ruhama rated it it was amazing
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
Melissa Gruber
I thought this book was really cute for young children. I really liked how the illustrations corresponded with the text and demonstrated the different colors and feelings of the four seasons. It also informs kids that bears hibernate for several months at a time. I really liked this book.
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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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