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Three Bears in a Boat
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Three Bears in a Boat

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,132 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
From the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a high seas adventure inspired by the classic picture books Little Bear and Where the Wild Things Are.
Three bear siblings break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one. On their quest they encounter salty
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Dial Books (first published May 1st 2014)
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Billy I think it could be a reference to "Go, Dog. Go!" Towards the middle of that book there are three dogs in a boat at night. One has a banjo, I remember…moreI think it could be a reference to "Go, Dog. Go!" Towards the middle of that book there are three dogs in a boat at night. One has a banjo, I remember there being a lantern, and I'm guessing if I had a copy handy I might see a checkerboard in there as well.(less)

Community Reviews

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Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Bratty bears epic adventure!

All the nautical literature visual references bump this up to 4 stars.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I always suspected there was more to David Soman than met the eye. That’s the problem with success. Folks just dismiss you out of hand. If the man’s name is ringing a couple bells here and there that’s probably you have, at some point in your life, read a child one of the Ladybug Girl books that he created with his wife Jacky Davis. Ladybug Girl is a big hit (particularly in my household) and therein lies the trouble. When people think of picture book bestsellers they sometimes associate it with ...more
Monica Edinger
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am probably not completely objective about this book because it pushes my nostalgia button big time --- the bears (especially the mother) make me think of the Little Bear books written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. There are other seemingly Sendak references (say from Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen) as well as possibly Beatrix Potter. And other literary references --- say Huck Finn and Moby Dick. But these are all just icing for the adult read ...more
Well, shit. I keep wanting a female illustrator to be my frontrunner for Caldecott, but then Aaron Becker comes along, or Jon Klassen rewrites all the rules, or David Soman paints a couple dozen beautiful seascapes with tender, expressive bears in 'em.

Masterful. Recalls the drawings in Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear books AND Miss Potter's little paintings of fluffy animals, and you just can't go wrong with forebears like that.
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story was all right (I was hoping the story would be more interesting as the title reminded me of that wonderfully droll "Three Men In a Boat") but the! I could lose myself in the illos for months. The rating is for the art.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There’s something about these three brown bears and their styling wardrobe that captured my heart. While mother bear was out these three bears decided to have a bit of honey and whoops, mothers pretty blue seashell smashed to the floor. All three of these siblings know what a big bear mother bear is, so they decide they better climb into their boat and find mother bear another blue seashell before she returns. Sounds easy to three little bears but it don’t really turn out that way. Using bright ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it

Alliteration is used effectively and does not feel forced into the story: "...the sly bears slid their boat into the sea and set sail." The storm they encounter represents the argument they have in which they blame each other, then as they resolve their disagreement, they '...sailed out of the storm and into the sun...and floated on water as smooth and calm as glass."
Oversized book has beautiful watercolors on two page spreads that invite one right into the story! I love the page where they are
Jan Polep
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Mixed reviews last night on this preschool-kindergarten picture book about three bears who break their mother's blue seashell, then go off in search of a replacement. 5 stars for me, 1 star for Dylan (age 5).I know the Twain and Melville references will be wasted on little kids but the illustrations are super and the message of owning up to your mistakes is a good one. The down side is that Dylan was really concerned about which bear was the girl (hard to tell), where were their folks, and did t ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to love this! There are so many bear books out there, but this one caught my attention when I saw that each bear had a name and a personality. I was completely hooked when I noticed some sly literary references. I knew then I needed to slow down and pay close attention. I read it several times - once for the story, once for the illustrations, and another time just to enjoy it again. Now I want to read it aloud to some children!

I'm adding this to my list of picture books that wou
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
We are using this book for our March Book Madness bracket and I have loved the response that my students have had to the three bears! They can relate to their plight of being in trouble for breaking something, the quest to fix the situation before anyone finds out, and the forgiveness of their mother in the end. But one student could contain his frustration in the end- "WHO would want honey for dessert??" Three bears would!!
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic seascapes, some visual humor, a substantial (but never too wordy) text and story, sly bears, and a satisfying but just ending. This would be a treat to read aloud.

June 2016 - I still love the illustrations, but bumped it down a star. Ben enjoyed it.
Michelle Nero
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I know there was a lot of love for this book. At first, I wasn't hooked ... "Just another bear book" I thought. However, once the storm came and the three bears in a boat clung to each other, I melted a little. I have high standards for bear books and this one came through!
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
A contender for a Caldecott award!!

Beautiful illustrations which go hand in hand with the story! Could not make up mind which is my favorite picture.

I can actually imagine being part of the book.
Edward Sullivan
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Stunning illustrations, especially the facial expressions of the bears, and a good story with a subtle message about responsibility.
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
beautiful, beautiful paintings!
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Good book about confessing to what you have done instead of covering it up and not blaming others.
Maggi Rohde
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The co-creator of Ladybug Girl has another winner here. Beautifully illustrated, this adventure story for young children includes a gentle lesson about responsibility.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A little preachy for me....
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mame-14
Another delightful variation on the often-told children's tale of breaking something precious to Mother. In this case three bear siblings break a beautiful shell, argue about who is at fault, and set out to find a replacement. Their quest brings new realization of their dependence on one another. Mother's appropriate response of sorrow, love, and consequences adds to the satisfying conclusion. Because it is a picture book for young children, all is well in the end. Real life, unfortunately, does ...more
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like it, and my three-year-old likes it, but for different reasons. Minor spoilers below.

I like the sense of adventure, underpinned by the certainty that there is safety and security waiting at the end. I really like the portrayal of the relationship between siblings, with the constant conflict and unwavering support that can only be achieved by people who can't picture not knowing each other.

My three-year-old likes the bears, the boats, and the storm.

We both like the map inside the back cover
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The story is what you'd expect about three young bears who make a mistake and try to solve it by replacing the broken object. Good book to use for showing responsibility and working together to problem solve.
However, the illustrations are amazing. The references to other nautical themed books are clever and fun to figure out for an older reader.
Viviane Elbee
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The art is gorgeous. This book is slightly longer, possibly for older preschoolers and elementary students.

It was fun to follow the bears on this epic journey for a rare blue seashell.

My kids enjoyed this book and voted to give it 5 stars.

There are references to other classic tales, which is fun for the adult readers.
R. G. Nairam
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
"The three were most unhappy, and stared at each other with very squinty, very mad bear eyes..."

11/10 illustration accompanies.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: je, 2016
This book has message. This is for ages 5 and older.
Erin Hatch
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-books
I loved the large illustrations that took you right into the ocean on the bear's journey!
NZBook Girl
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This delectable picture book ticked all the boxes for me, from the rotund trio in their sailboat on the cover of the generously proportioned square format hardcover, to the map of their journey on the final endpapers, the book had me exclaiming over the clever details in both the visual and the text.
The three young bears - Dash, Theo and Charlie (who is a girl bear) try to get at the honey pot on a high ledge when they knock down and break their mother's t
Meghan Klyczek
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott-medal
"Three Bears in a Boat" has been my favorite book I have read for this class thus far. What a great, GREAT book! In this book, three bears who are brothers and sisters break a blue shell that belonged to their mother. In order to try and find a new one to replace it, they go on an adventure in their boat at sea. They come across different groups of bears and asked them where to find a new blue shell, but they were all busy or confused. They, they are told by a "big, salty bear" that if they look ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The co-creator of the Ladybug Girl series returns with a completely different type of book. It is the story of three little bears who accidentally break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, so they set off to find her a new one. Along the way they meet other bears on boats but only one can give them any advice about finding a blue seashell, they need to look for a hat-shaped island and then look in the right place. As they travel, the bears look and look for a blue seashell, but don’t find one ...more
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman follows three young bears who break their mom's favorite blue seashell and embark on a high seas adventure to replace it before she notices. The bears encounter salty sailors, strange new islands, caves, huge whales, and vast seas, but no blue seashells. When a treacherous storm suddenly blows in, the bears find themselves tossed about in their little boat. What will become of their search, and what will it take to bring them home?

Soman's beautiful, detaile
Becky B
Charlie, Dash, and Theo are doing something they know they really shouldn't do when they accidentally break their mother's favorite blue shell. Rather than fess up to their deed, they set out in their boat to find a replacement shell. They search high and low, face a few dangers, each other's pointing fingers and their own guilt, and when finally ready to do the right thing they get an unexpected reward (though no dessert).

A beautifully illustrated adventure with a nice little moral too. A great
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David Soman and Jacky Davis are a husband-and-wife creative team. They write the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl books together and Mr. Soman illustrates. The books are inspired by their own children and family experiences. Jacky Davis has worked in publishing as well as in television. David Soman teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. They live with their children in upsta
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