Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Children’s Book Review, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a children’s picture book, written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and published by Walker Books, 1993.

From the publisher:
Go on a bear hunt and do the actions with this award-winning picture book classic.

Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest.
Long before Rosen wrote this book, kids in schools were chanting and echoing “Let’s Go on a Bear Hunt”. Rosen has given it a new slant, adding some characters who think they’re brave, lots of lovely sound words, tension and a great rhythm.

Oxenbury has given real variety to the illustrations, with some in sketchy black and white and others in mellow colour. The format of the illustrations changes on the family’s run from the bear - instead of full page spreads, we get multiple long panels helping us read really fast!

Children will love We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; to read, to share with an adult, and to perform. Cumulative stories like this are excellent for helping children memorise text, that all-important step on the journey to real reading. I have three-year-olds in my Storytime at the Library sessions who are practically word perfect when reciting the text - and wow, can they recite it with passion, panache and

Do watch the video below to see Michael Rosen himself performing the book on YouTube.

See Helen and Michael discuss the book and its creation.

Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook by clicking Reviews in the right sidebar.


  1. This is such a classic book! A wonderful story to act out and go on a bear hunt around the classroom. Thanks for the you tube link - he is so animated! My married surname is "Hunt" and when I changed my name, we read this story to help them remember my new name :)
    Here's a great link to a story pattern sequencing activity to match this book

    1. Thanks very much for the link, Lauren - the activity looks really useful.

  2. Love Michael Rosen's rendition. I love that it is a book that encourages so much movement and fun and games as well as memory.

    1. Yes, Lesley, exactly! The teacher in me loves the memory aspect, but my inner child, and all the kids I know, just love the possibilities for FUN!

  3. I sang this song in Boy Scouts when I was a kid, but instead it was called "Going on a Lion Hunt"

    1. That's the same idea I think, Chase. I knew it as Going on a Lion Hunt too, but we chanted it, not sang it. Kids loved it then, and do now!


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