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Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

(Bill Martin's Bears #2)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  52,217 ratings  ·  822 reviews
What will you hear when you read this book to a preschool child?

Lots of noise!

Children will chant the rhythmic words. They'll make the sounds the animals make. And they'll pretend to be the zoo animals featured in the book-- look at the last page!

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle are two of the most respected names in children's education and children's illustrations. This co
Hardcover, 28 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published January 28th 1982)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  52,217 ratings  ·  822 reviews

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Sean Gibson
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vastly superior to Brown Bear, Brown Bear (in my humble opinion), and infinitely more entertaining when read to you by a 2-year-old who conflates the two and starts saying things like, "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you see? I see a hippopotamus snorting at me."

It's been suggested that this is evidence of the deep state's inherent distrust of autocratic authority, but I have yet to see any reliable scholarship or intel to confirm that supposition.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: classic board book
Amazing artwork in this beginning board book classic for toddlers and people who appreciate artwork in picture books. The story is simple and repetitive of the title and they hear another animal and then it repeats over again.

I love the animals chosen in this book and the end with children imitating the animals is fun. The zoo is a fun place.
D. Pow
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: brendan-s-shelf
The key to reading this one out loud is getting into character as the animals. You've got to roar like a lion, growl like a polar Bear and hiss like a Boa Constricter. You've got to commit, go Old school Stanislavski like a young Brando. Be the frigging snake. Be the Bear. little Ones Dig it. And when you are phoning in the performance they will know that too. THEY WILL MAKE YOU PAY. So don't phone it in.

I think one key to Carle's success is his his wonderfully inventive and eye-pleasing palette
5 stars for Eric Carle's art.
1 star for Bill Martin Jr.'s words.
= a grudging average of 3 stars.

I tried, D. I fully committed to the animals, man. I was like Robert deNiro shooting heroin for Raging Bull. I gained weight to play the purple walrus (how the hell am I going to lose it?). I painted myself with gentian violet, grew a handlebar mustache, jammed a couple of carrots under my lip and flopped around grunting.

I poured honey all over myself and rolled in flour to play the titular Polar Bear
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are fans of Eric Carle. Reading his books are like singing to them. I liked what each animal heard on the next page. It's interesting doing it in Spanish. Fun for kids to guess the name of next noise. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 added it
Shelves: picture-books
I grabbed this because I was doing story time and Brown Bear was missing.

Pro-tip do not take this into storytime unless you know what a flamingo and a peacock sound like.
Sarah Kennedy
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, challenge-2017
Delightful read aloud. New rule: if you read the same book to a small child more than 20 times in one day, it counts toward your GoodReads challenge. ;)
Laura (Book Scrounger)
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 0-preschool, owned
I was surprised at how much my kids laughed at this book -- I think they decided all the words for animal noises (bray, hiss, snort, etc.) were pretty funny sounding, and I guess I'd have to agree. This is certainly my favorite "Brown Bear" sequel. The illustrations are great, as usual, and of course we can count on Eric Carle to not make *all* of the animals normal colors, considering the magenta walrus at the end. ;-) ...more
Jazzmarie Vedrine
This book is exciting to read and while reading, you may find that the characters of the animals create a rhythmic sound. You could easily create a melody or make this book into your own sing-a-long that will engage the children into the characters and movement of these zoo animals. The words written on each page are catchy, easy to read and easy to remember for young children. Another thing is the bold colors and the different designs and shapes of these animals.

One of the
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2012
Basic plot: animals and the sounds they make.

Ok, Eric Carle's art is interesting, but I don't find it to be phenomenal. There are some good words in the text to describe the sounds animals make, but they are hard to reproduce when reading to a small child if you've never actually heard the sounds in question. Matter of fact, I would have rated this a solid 2 and moved on, BUT... my son picked up on the pattern of the pages and started chiming in to read the story with me after just a few pages.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute! I'm surprised I haven't read this one before. I used it for a zoo-themed family storytime on 10/9/18. Lots of good vocabulary words for little people: yelp, bellow, flute, etc. ...more
E: "I don't like how it's kind of like a song." ...more
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
Just as lovely as the first book!
Carl Sandberg
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quite confusing in the beginning when animals from different continents interact with each other. I don’t want to ruin the end for anyone, but you should know that it all makes sense in the end.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction: A great beginners books! Another one of my favorite books growing up, I believe these types of beginners books are awesome because they have lasted for so many years that it makes me as a teacher really want to have students read them. Students anywhere from 4 to 5 or 6 would enjoy this book.

Reading in groups: This book could be fun to read in a group because it is asking a question. This could get the students involved and have them asking their neighbor what they think the P
If my 2-yr-old rated this he'd give it a 5. But he can't type so I'm giving it a 3. Love the illustrations. The "hear" part was a bit weird for me - "I hear a boa constrictor hissing at me", or whatever animal making whatever noise. Weird, but I can deal. I can't deal with the end. I hate it. The zookeeper then hears all these kids making the animal noises and they're dressed up like the animals, sort of. It's freaky. And my son looks at those strange kids and wonders what the heck they're doing ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Is a fabulous book for getting children used to rhythmic words. I have read this book lots of time to children and they always enjoy repeating the story with me. It is very good in encouraging drama and role-play skills; I have used it in a cross-curricular way incorporating it in a PE lesson getting the children to pretend that that they are the different animals in the story, and to move around like them. The pages in the story are mostly taken up by s ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I particularly enjoy reading this book when introducing the five senses to kiddos. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? entices the listeners to interact with each other, through guessing what animal may come next as well as making a variety of animal sounds. This is a fun and exciting way to begin talking about the sense hearing and what happens when the kiddos listen (hint: they're able to hear all about the animals and what sounds they make).

Read during school visit on September 19th, 2
Lori Nii-amassah
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, rhyming, ga-pre-k
I believe “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” is a book that all children will love. The colors used are vibrant and eye catching. With each new animal introduced, the same question is repeated. Children can participate by asking the question and making the animal sounds.

You could extend this book by having the children work together to put story pieces in the correct order according to the book.
Christina Mallory
Text-To-Text Connection
This book is closely connected to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? Although in this book the animals are describing what they hear it is still a connection between what the animals see in Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Being able to identify what the animals hear from the way something sounds they are using one of their five senses. In the story, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, the animals are using another one of their five senses which if to see.
Caleb has been reading this in preschool so we have obtained a copy for ourselves. What can I say it is Bill Martin? I love his work!!! It is simple, easy to read, and both my children love him. I read him when I was growing up and I am sure my grandchildren will be as well. You can take so much from these books just besides reading but art crafts, but cooking and other fun things to do.
Kendra Elizabeth
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book from my childhood that allows children to rhyme, but also learn about animals that are not commonly learned. It allows interactions from the audience which is important during read-aloud. This book could be turned into a classroom or home activity for children toddler age to second grade.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"are you want you want a book a book a book a book I like the book hey Bam!" -actual review ...more
Kelly Lin
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was great that inside of the book it have many different animal. It is a good way for kid to learn different kind of animal. Also kid can use their imagination to guess the sound of each animal.
Kim Cesario
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cute son loves trying to push the buttons and hear the sounds of the different animals!
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sue Read
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love this book! Eric Carle's distinct and vibrant illustrations depict all the animals to he heard at a zoo. Starting with a polar bear, a repetitive question, 'what do you hear?' accompanies us through the story. The reader has to wait until the next page to find out who can be heard. In the end it is the zoo keeper that hears something intriguing...can you roar like a lion or bray like zebra? ...more
Avi’s Dad
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My 3 month old son seemed to think this was a very exciting story.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the vibrant colors used in the illustrations for this book! The simplicity and rhymes make this book perfect for a toddler classroom. I think that this book would encourage children to engage in acting out the animal sounds of each animal pictured in the book. While reading this story out loud I would emphasize the characteristics of each animal. This book would also be a easy story for a child to memorize, which makes the read a loud even more fun and interactive!
Karley Barfield
Feb 04, 2021 added it
Shelves: week-4
Text-to Teaching Connection
I would have a polar bear craft activity where students will cut out a polar bear in pieces, such as the head, body, ears, legs, and put it together. Students will work on fine motor skills when cutting and pasting the polar bear together. We could do this activity in small group and hang the finished craft up in the hallway as the "animal theme" of the week/month. Students can also study the letters P and B during this activity.
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Bill Martin, Jr. (1916-2004) was an elementary-school principal, teacher, writer, and poet. His more than 300 books, among them the bestselling classics Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See; Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear; Panda Bear Panda Bear What Do You See; and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, are a testament to his ability to speak directly to children. Martin held a doctoral degree in early ...more

Other books in the series

Bill Martin's Bears (4 books)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
  • Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?

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