Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? is written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. This complex concept book features a cast of colourful zoo animals who have a whole lot to say. It was published in 1991 as a successor to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear?, also by Martin and Carle.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear is a small board book with easy to turn pages and bright illustrations. The pictures stand out against the white space, and the text is clear and straightforward. The story begins by asking, “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?” and answering “I hear a lion roaring in my ear”. The book continues in this fashion, with excellent rhythm and repetition.
There are plenty of expressive and obscure words to help develop your child’s vocabulary: trumpeting, bellowing, yelping. The repetition allows for easy
interaction with an older child, with only three words changing per page. Each page begs the child to imitate an animal’s cry as a response to “What do you hear?”. Children will love shouting responses to additional questions you might ask, such as, “Can you hiss like a boa constrictor?” or “What does a walrus bellowing sound like?”.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear oozes energy and colour. The book is ideal for ages 6 – 9 months and older with its rhythmic language, repetition, and simple illustrative style. Ages 24-36 months will enjoy the interaction Polar Bear, Polar Bear so easily encourages.
Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr. are legendary in the children’s book world, and for good reason. I give Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? five flashlights for its vibrant colours, simple theme, and exciting language.