Just Imagine

A Bear-y Tale

About the Author and Illustrator

Anthony Browne is one of the world’s most celebrated creators of picture books, with classics such as “Voices in the Park”, “Willy the Wimp”, and “Gorilla” to his name. He has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice, the Kurt Maschler ‘Emil’ Award three times, and in 2000 became the first British illustrator to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to children’s literature, he was appointed the UK Children’s Laureate for 2009 to 2011.

About the Book

This is the fairy-tale adventure of a little white bear and his magic pencil. Bear is walking through a deep dark forest when he meets a hungry-looking wolf, a giant, a scary witch and a family of three bears. With each encounter, Bear draws his way out of danger with the help of his magic red and yellow pencil. This classic picture book by Anthony Browne invites children to anticipate and predict what bear will draw next to get himself out of danger. The pictures include references to other stories that the children will know, which opens up an opportunity for storytelling and story making. Children can also be encouraged to think about the way in which the text and pictures work together to tell the story.

Before Reading

Look at the front cover and read the title, ‘A Bear-y Tale‘ Does that sound like something else? Which words rhyme with ‘Bear-y’? Draw out ‘fairy’ and discuss what the children might expect from a fairy tale.

What’s happening on the front cover of this book? What do you think will happen in the story?

Have you read any other stories featuring the same Bear? (Some children  might know Anthony Browne’s Bear Hunt. Have a copy available for the children to look at afterwards.)

During Reading

Page 1

Read the page together. What is Bear doing in the forest?

Model speculative thinking and invite the children to make suggestions, ‘I wonder what that might be for….?

Page 2 ‘Hello Wolf’

Uh – oh. How are these two characters feeling about meeting each other? How can you tell? Guide the children to look at the character’s body language and facial expressions.

‘Hmmm I wonder what they are thinking?’ Take suggestions from the children and write them on thought bubbles (post-its) which can be stuck on the page.

Prediction: What is bear drawing? Turn the page. ‘Is that what you were expecting?’

Read the rest of the story together, encouraging and checking predictions but keeping the story flowing.

After Reading

Talk about the children’s responses to the story. What did they like about it? Can they choose their favourite part?

In pairs, allow time for the children to re-read and then ask if there was anything they spotted that they hadn’t noticed the first time.

Show the children a copy of Anthony Browne’s ‘Bear Hunt’ and make the point that if they enjoyed ‘A Bear-y Tale’ they may want to read it.

Adding pages to the story

What other characters might Bear meet in the forest? What do you think he might draw for them? Invite children to create their own additions which could be made into a class book.

If you liked this you might enjoy…

Anthony Browne Hide and Seek

Anthony Browne Bear’s Magic Pencil

Anthony Browne Bear Hunt