The Very Cranky Bear is a well-known (and much loved!) book about four friends who meet a very cranky bear. Moose, Lion, and Zebra all thought they could cheer Bear up. At the end, it was the plain but very thoughtful sheep who managed to make Bear smile 🙂
As with many resources, this book can be used thoughtfully to stimulate language at very different levels.
With toddlers who are using few words or single words to communicate, you can ask questions around information that is/was directly shown on the page, such as:
– Where’s the bear?
– What’s this?
– What do you see?
– What did you hear?
At this next level of questioning, the information is clearly presented on the page, but the child has to choose what to attend, for example:
– What colour is the bear?
– What’s happening?
– Look at the animals.. which one roars and has a golden mane?
– Zebra and Moose are very different animals.. how are they different?
The child is challenged to think beyond what is on the page. They must think and re-order the information in front of them. Examples may include:
– What do you think will happen next?
– What could he say?
– Can you tell the story this time?
– Yes, the animals are in a cave. What is a ‘cave’?
– Sheep’s wool is nice and soft for making a pillow. What else is nice and soft, but is not wool?
The child is challenged to reason beyond what is on the page. They need to draw from their experience, make parallels, understand cause-and-effect, and to justify conclusions made. Questions at this level may include:
– What do you think will happen if the bear wakes up?
– How can you tell that the bear is cranky?
– If you were there with the four friends, what would you do?
– Why do you think Moose chose two big branches for antlers? What would you use for antlers?
– What else may the bear be dreaming about?
Books are wonderfully versatile. They truly present endless opportunities for learning.