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Three Bears in a Boat
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Three Bears in a Boat

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,313 ratings  ·  255 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)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,313 ratings  ·  255 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
La Coccinelle
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Three bears in a boat? Sounds silly, right? It kind of is. But this charming little picture book is more than that. It's a story about siblings, about trying to right a wrong, and about having an adventure.

Dash, Charlie, and Theo are trying to reach the honey pot on the mantel when they accidentally break their mother's pretty blue seashell. Not wanting her to find out, they decide to go in search of a replacement. They take their boat, the Ursula K., and head out to sea. They ask a motley colle
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.
Shannon Dunn
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful adventure of a book! The illustrations swept us away, and the writing had me excitedly wondering what would happen next. But the best part was when I read the last line, "But they didn't get any dessert," and my four year old daughter shrieked in high-pitched horror, "WHY?!?!" We'll be reading this one again and again.
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 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The story is a little bit slight, but there are some gorgeous two-page spread seascapes, as well as rhetorical devices you don't often find in a picture book, and some clever visual literary allusions.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Picture Book Favorites

Beautiful paintings and a nice adventure with a sweet ending. I also liked the nods to Ursula K. Le Guin and Herman Melville.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
Good book about confessing to what you have done instead of covering it up and not blaming others.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A little preachy for me....
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three little bears, but not THE three bears, get themselves into trouble when they pile on top of each other to reach the honey pot. Accidentally they knock their mother's large blue seashell to the ground where it smashes into a million pieces. What are little bears to do? Afraid of their punishment, they run to the seashore where they launch a boat and set off to try and find a new blue seashell for their mother. They mostly hope that she will never know that they were doing things they ought ...more
Kaitlin Bisbee
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Three Bears in a Boat seems like a sweet, simple story about three bears sailing a boat on the surface, but really, its an adventure story about three siblings who set off to right a wrong, a get a little lost along the way. The siblings are doing something against the rules while mom is away when they accidentally knock over her prized blue seashell. They decide to take their sailboat and go looking for a new one. Along the way, the bears meet a "salty bear" who tells them the shell will be in ...more
Yessica Cancino
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am giving the children’s book, Three Bears in a Boat, a 5. This book is about Dash, Theo, and Charlie and they lived by the sea. One day, when their mother was not home, they accidentally broke for a blue seashell. The three bears were scared of their mom so they ran away from home to the sea. They made it their quest to go find another blue seashell to replaces their mother’s before she got home. On their trip, they found and met many other bears but no one knew where to find a seashell. Unti ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much more successful, imo, than Tolman's "The Island."

I do wish that there were an answer key to the references... for example, the Japanese (?) mountaintop looks awfully familiar.... I love the early encounters with other bears in boats. And the warm supper reminds me Max after his visit to the Wild Things, and no dessert reminds me of Peter Rabbit and the Pokey Little Puppy (iirc).
What do you spot?

Many of the illustrations would be totally framable, but they're not there to show off; they enha
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
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
Beatrice Fox
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic adventure. Three bears cause some mischief and set off on a journey to right their wrong. They sail to the sea and meet a lot of others. It's fantastic. Adorable. The art is so nice. The characters appealing. It's not overpreachy but the kids each learn a thing or two. Really liked the references to other stories ...very subtle but funny. Some good humor within but it's mostly just rich in adventure and wonder. Great!
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: addyvi
I like this book because it's about three bears in a boat, and all the bears were busy and doing other stuff, and one of the ones was like "up, down, I don't know where way to go; down, up, left, right..." and another seemed a little busy. They were sailing until they met a salty bear and he told them to go: "it's on an island shaped like a hat. The shell could be in the water, it could be in a cave, it could be on a mountain, but I reckon, if you check in the right spot, you'll find it."
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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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