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The first time I picked up The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland, it was by chance. My daughter and I were browsing through book store shelves, when the book caught our eyes. I was SO pleasantly surprised with how fun this book is!
This book is about four little animal friends, each possessing their own unique qualities, who run into a cranky bear and come up with creative solutions to cheer him up.
What I love about this book is that it allows you to pause a draw various lessons from it. There is a wonderful attention to language, which really displays the effective use of adjectives. For example some characters are described as having “marvelous antlers”, a “golden mane”, and “fantastic stripes”. This book also presents young readers with the concept that we all possess unique qualities. We all matter and no two people (or furry little animals in this case) are the same! What a wonderful lesson for children! Nick Bland writes the entire book in rhyme, which I always find as an added plus. You should definitely add The Very Cranky Bear to your library collection!
Be sure to check the book or box set linked below, and scroll down in this post to see some wonderful cross-curricular lesson ideas to try (these could be grouped together to become a mini-book study).
Activity #1: Venn Diagrams
Have students use their lists to make artistic venn diagrams, inspired by these:
Activity #2: Character Development
This book is filled with lessons regarding self-confidence and accepting diversity. Here are some activities to try:
Activity #3: Math Integration
Since this book is about the unique qualities each character possesses, kids could choose qualities and then graph how many of their peers possess those qualities. If you’re homeschooling, you can choose an adjective like “soft” and have the kids go around the house or park and record how many objects are soft or not. Here are some examples:
Activity #4: Writing Integration (Adjectives)
Students can write a colorful paragraph with their favorite adjectives to describe a topic of their or your choosing. Alternatively, students can create and develop their own fictional characters, and list adjectives about them.
Here is a wonderful book series to reinforce the concept of adjectives:
Activity #5: Art Integration
This book makes a note of emphasizing each animal’s unique physical attributes. This would make a great lesson in portraying texture! After a discussion on what texture is and how to demonstrate it in art work, students can choose their favorite character from the book and demonstrate their use of texture. Here are some examples:
Voila! You have a mini book study! 🙂