I had a special request for a storytime on polar bears, due to the recent birth of Siku. I was asked to prepare two books and some coloring pages, so here’s what I did.
As you see, we have an adorable polar bear puppet (see left), so I decided to use him for a quick little rhyme.
Marco the Polar Bear, white as snow.
Sat down on the ice near the cold water’s flow.
“I’m hungry,” he said, and he made a wish.
He stuck out his paw and pulled up a fish!
(for the last line I printed out a clip art fish, laminated it with clear contact paper, and attached a velcro dot to it. I put the other velcro dot on Marco’s paw). The students also loved greeting and snuggling with Marco!
The first book we read was Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr., Illustrated by Eric Carle. Most of you are probably very familiar with this book, so isn’t a very surprising choice. However, the bright, bold pictures and invitation to make different animal noises were the perfect icebreaker! It’s so versatile and fun to read.
The second book we read was Panda & Polar Bear, by Matthew Baek. (See photo, above). I have to say that I found this book absolutely precious! The illustrations are so soft and sweet, and the concept is just too cute for words! Polar bear lives in white, wintery place, but he becomes curious about a steep cliff at the edge of his home. One day he is just a little too curious and slides all the way down into a giant mud puddle! As he gets his bottom, arms, and eyes dirty with mud, he begins to assume the appearance of a panda bear. He finds himself in a strange, green land where a beautiful “splotchy bear” greets him. They play together and become fast friends. It is only after Polar Bear dives into the water to catch a fish that Panda realizes Polar Bear is different. While describing his home to a fascinated Panda, Polar Bear becomes homesick. But how will he get back up that steep, steep cliff? The new friends work together to get Polar Bear home again, realizing along the way that they are not as far apart as they once believed.
This story worked very well with one of the coloring pages I chose, which was a simple outline of a bear. I told the students that they could color on the muddy patches that made Polar Bear look like a panda bear. Or, they could just color them in as they wished. The other two were a mother polar bear and cub and a polar bear with ice that I found by just Googling “printable polar bear coloring pages.”