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Bear's Picture

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A bear wants to paint a picture, and so he does; however, two fine, proper gentlemen don’t think that it is a very fine picture at all. But just because they don’t see what the bear sees doesn’t make it a bad picture, right? Daniel Pinkwater turns art (and art critics) upside down in this classic tale, now beautifully reillustrated by D. B. Johnson.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 21st 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published March 26th 1972)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  249 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Yay for Goodreads, for community reviews. There's no way to evaluate books like this objectively. Professional critics wouldn't really have much of value to say here. Even though some of my GR friends rate this lower, I love it and highly recommend it.

And that's the theme of the book. Everyone can be an artist, even if the only ppl who appreciate their work are themselves (Bear), or posthumous coffee mug designers (Van Gogh). And everyone can be a critic.

And in my case, since I happen to love D.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books-jp
I still remember being told in second grade that I drew the sky wrong. When I went home and told my Dad that the sky was supposed to be a big long rectangle of blue in the sky colored in corner to corner, but mine was wrong, he said not so. Mine, a small frenzy of blue, was just fine for a sky. I figured since he was an artist, he probably knew best so I just kept on drawing skies my way. So far, it has worked out well.
This bear and my Dad would understand each other.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
A nice sentiment/message here that we should not allow others to judge our artistic talents/pursuits but should enjoy the process and creation for ourselves. However, I think it was better executed by Peter Reynolds in his book such as The Dot ...more
April Thompson
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I love art. I love children's books. I love bright colors. The combination of the three in this book just didn't have the bells and whistles I normally love. Just meh. ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Absolutely fabulous! The text is matter-of-fact; straightforward; and it conveys a great sentiment -- the artist's own interpretation is enough to make any artwork worthwhile. A bear can be a painter and he can paint whatever he feels like and see whatever there is in the picture without being told by others that he can't paint or what his artwork means.

And the ART in this book is unusual, for sure. The contrast between the gray-scale color scheme of the three characters and the vibrant multi-c
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Abby by: Tom and Kristin Clowes
A lovely little picture book about being creative and marching to your own drum. Bear makes a lovely picture and doesn't care what the proper gentlemen say about it. ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Pinkwater, Daniel. Bear's Picture, 32 pgs. Boston Houghton Mifflin Company, c2008. Language-G, Sexual Content-G; Violence-G;

REVIEW: A bear wants to paint a picture, and he proceeds to do just that. He is criticized by two very fine and proper gentlemen, but the bear holds his own and guess what happens to his critics? The illustrations are great. In fact, much of the story is told not by words, but by the art. This story is not just for the younger children. -

EL-ADVISABLE, Marilyn Mann, Elemen
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bear's Picture (Hardcover)
by Daniel Pinkwater
Sometimes its believing in yourself is all you need. Bear is drawing pictures, and two fashionable gentlemen come on the scene of bear drawing, they can not believe their eyes, they can not see the masterpiece before bear's eyes. They critic they down play they reprimand but they don't see the possibility or change their perspective. Hint turn the picture upside down. And when reading to kids point out the obvious.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow...a Daniel Pinkwater book that makes complete sense! What a treat!

This is the story of a bear who is painting a picture, which gets scrutinized by two men. But the bear holds his own and continues to see what he sees. It's a neat book.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pinkwater and Johnson defend abstract expressionism and people's right to paint it. ...more
Amy Forrester
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A bear wants to paint a picture. So he gets out his paper, brushes, and paints and begins to create. He’s blissfully painting when two gentlemen happen upon the bear. One is short and round, the other tall and slim. As soon as they see the bear painting they begin criticizing the artwork. “Bears can’t paint.” “Besides it’s a silly picture.” Exasperated, the bear defends his painting as the two men inch closer to figure out “what it is supposed to be.” Before they know it, the men have stepped in ...more
Falan Miller
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
"Bear's Picture", by Daniel Pinkwater is a book is simply written and has beautiful illustrations. This book is about a little bear who decides to paint a picture. Two gentlemen walk by and turn their nose up at the bear attempting to paint a picture. The gentlemen then start to try to figure out what the bear is painting. In the end the two men fail to see what the bear had beautifully illustrated. I think something that could be taken from this story, is how not to worry about what other peopl ...more
Katie Turley
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A bear wanted to pain a picture. So he began. As the bear was painting 2 gentlemen came up and said bears couldn't paint pictures because bears couldn't do whatever they wanted. The gentlemen started guessing what the painting was. A butterfly, a clown? No. It was a honey tree. The gentlemen did not see that it was a honey tree and the bear said, "It doesn't have to. It is MY picture."
I loved this book. It just made me feel good. This bear wanted to do something so he or she went for it and it
Phil Jensen
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
*Review of the '70s edition with original illustrations

Pinkwater assures children that they are their own audiences, and that their art is valid if it pleases them.

A bear in a black-and-white world paints an abstract picture. Art critics complain about it, and the bear shrugs them off. On the last page, the entire world is colorful except for the two art critics. My four-year old got the symbolism.

I'm not sure why anyone felt the need for new illustrations, but I'm curious to see them. If I had
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
As Bear paints a picture, two passing “proper gentlemen” stop to criticize. The reader, along with the gentlemen, watch the painting progress from a few strokes to a complete picture. Johnson displays a nice use of color and geometric shapes. A special detail is bear’s scarf, which starts off black and white, and by the end is a rainbow of paint splotches. Furthermore, Bear’s colorful painting juxtaposes the “proper gentlemen” who are in shades of grey and black. A nice story that promotes cr
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Bear decides to paint a picture--an abstract, much to the chagrin of two proper gentlemen. As Bear works, they try to decipher it, only to find their interpretations are nothing like Bear's intentions, and get sucked into the picture (as if being ignored). Only Bear's painting is in color, brilliantly standing out and drawing the eye to it, each page different as the paint is layered on the canvas. This would pair well with art books (The Dot or Why Is Blue Dog Blue?), as well as poo-pooing adul ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
My four-year-old son checked this book out from the library yesterday.

There is so much to love about this book, but most of all, I love the bear's attitude. He didn't care if the fine gentlemen liked his picture or not. He painted his picture for him, not for the fine gentlemen.

This book is so beautifully illustrated that I kind of really loved the bear's picture, too. And the grey-scale, rather stiff fine gentlemen were a nice contrast for the color explosion on the bear's canvas.

Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I love Daniel Pinkwater, and like DB Johnson. A bear is painting, doing his own thing, when a pair of fine gentlemen come along telling him what he should not be doing, painting is what he should not be doing according to them.
Not as fun as Irving and Muktuk, or Larry the polar bears who make trouble where ever they go. This brown bear obviously has more decorum, not to mention artistic talent. I did like it though, and the dullard gentlemen get their comeuppance in the end.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
From 2009 Caldecott contender list.

I loved the illustrations but was not caught up by the storyline. I liked it better than my kids did. They, like me, were drawn to the amazing illustrations. They watched bear's painting change and grow and they loved the colors. We were a little put off by the "two fine, proper gentlemen". This seems to fall into the category of kids books for adults.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Bear draws a picture. It is a picture of stream in the forest with a hollow log with leaves to crawl in and flowers. Two gentlemen who drop by disapprove and say that it doesn't look like what it is supposed to be. But the bear is not at all upset and is still happy with his picture! E picture book for 2-4 year olds. ...more
This feels like Pinkwater's child/art analogy to how he feels about one's own writing. And I quite agree! I love the illustrations. And I really like the bear (and his increasingly spattered scarf). I'm not sure I could get this to be as entertaining in a preschool storytime, but it would make an excellent lap-read. ...more
Kellie O.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This book sends a great message about art, creation, and critics. If you're pleased with your art, it shouldn't matter what others think. It's a great story paired with illustrations from one of my favorite illustrators. ...more
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This story is about a bear who paints his own picture even though two fine, proper gentlemen tell him that bears can't paint pictures. Really sweet. The illustrations are really different too, almost art deco. ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I loved the contrast between the grey bear and the bright picture he is making. I could not wait to see his finished product. This is a reillustrated version of a title from the 1970s. I wonder what those illustrations were like.
Destinee Sutton
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, art
Even though "two fine, proper gentleman" give him a hard time, bear paints an awesome picture. The best part is looking at the picture upside down after it's finished. SPOILER: It looks like THE BEAR! ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
A bear wants to paint a picture, however two proper gentleman feel that he isn't doing it right. As the story goes on, the picture that the bear creates gets prettier and prettier. Mist read to find out what happens! Great illustrations. ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I like Daniel Pinkwater for his sense of humor most of the time. I liked this book for laying out an explanation for art appreciation so eloquently. It was really nicely done. The illustrations were okay, but the text was won me over
Benjamin Elliott
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A message about art and subjectivity, finding value in your own work over the judgment of others. The picture created is somewhat abstract, but in the final illustration they make sure that each of the elements that are discussed are readily identifiable.
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-picture-art
Art is about creativity and not about what others think. Illustrations are cute with use of black and white for the "proper gentlemen" and background and great vivid colors for the paint and art. ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
I liked the moral of the story. I also get the artistic part of it. But I didn't get into the illustrations and text....just didn't float my boat. ...more
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Daniel Manus Pinkwater is an author of mostly children's books and is an occasional commentator on National Public Radio. He attended Bard College. Well-known books include Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Pinkwater has also illustrated many of his books in the past, although for more recent works that ...more

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