Children’s Book Giveaway: Bear at Work.
April 27, 2010

Bear at Work, written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Debbie Harter, features a brown bear who works as a postman.  Throughout the day, he delivers mail to the entire town and when the day is through, he is found back at home with his cozy chair and his cat.

Honestly, Bear at Work is a very, VERY simple book.  The rhyme is catchy and the type is large, so it is easy to read and easy to memorize.  (I consider memorization key, since Charlotte is still so young that half of our reading time is spent with me trying to keep the book out of her mouth.  As well, Harter’s illustrations are vibrant and creative and provide plenty of conversation-starting details about social interactions.  One page, for example, includes a mother bear wiping off the nose of a messy baby bear in a restaurant.

Pros: The last page of the book includes an illustrated list of the other professions, including a librarian and a baker, Bear encounters during his day at work.  It is a wonderful way to introduce children to different jobs.  Toddlers especially seem to enjoy the book, presumably because it is easy for them to memorize and thus “read” as well.

Cons: None.  We enjoyed Bear at Work so much that we added other books from the Bear series to our collection last week.

Borrow or Buy: Buy.  They may not have much of a plot, but all of the Bear books are great for young children.  They are bright and colorful, with fun illustrations that lend themselves to discussions about elementary topics, and easy to read out-loud.

Reading tip: Let your child tell the story.  A few years ago, some friends asked me to help them teach their daughter to read.  Hands down, the easiest way for me to capture her interest was asking her to tell me the story.  After she gave me her version, she wanted to know what the book was actually all about.  Best of all, you might see something in the illustrations that you hadn’t noticed before.  Sometimes reading with a child involves more discussing than reading, and that’s okay.  It’s the routine of sitting together with a book that will make the biggest difference in the long run!

Did you know? Fewer than half of American children under the age of five are read to daily?  This week, I challenge you to read to your child(ren) every day.  Every child deserves that much, don’t you think?

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail telling me what you look for in a children’s book.  Do you most value the illustrations?  A lesson learned?  Conversation-starting themes?  Rhymes?  I have a curious mind, people!  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Thursday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winner will be announced Friday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to three entries.

For extra entries: This is on the honor system, so please be honest.  I will award you one extra entry if you vote for me at Top Baby Blogs by clicking here.  I am hoping to stay put on the front page and maybe, eventually, move higher up the ladder so that I can reach new readers and get them excited about reading to and with children too.  (I know it’s hard to tell if your vote counted – chances are that it did!)  (Also, thank you everybody for the votes thus far!)

To purchase this book: You can buy Bear at Work through Amazon.com, purchase it through Barefoot Books by clicking here, (both of those links use my affiliate codes) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.


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  1. By Jennifer Moore on April 27, 2010

    I also find memorization is key. Jessica looks to hold the book or turn the pages which is so cute, but it typically leads to putting it in her mouth.

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  2. By on April 27, 2010

    I love illustrations in children’s books.  Perhaps i’m primarily a visual learner but when I think back to my own childhood favorites, the illustrations are all key in my memories.

    (Also voted for you at Top Baby Blogs)

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  3. By gretchen from lifenut on April 27, 2010

    What I value in a children’s book: A lesson told with wit. It shouldn’t speak down to children. Well-done illustrations are a bonus and vocabulary expanding words are always welcome. Even the littlest ones can benefit from being challenged a little.

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  4. By Alena on April 27, 2010

    I think that there are many important things in the books we pick for Sophia.  She has a longer attention span if there are good pictures and it rhymes.  But I like for the stories to have a message…even if it’s something simple like “Everyone matters” or “God Loves You”.

    (5)

  5. By on April 27, 2010

    At this point (my little guy is 2), we look for books with catchy illustrations.  He likes to tell me the story - half the time we don’t actually read the book, he just tells me what he thinks is happening!  For the books that I actually read to him (usually right before bed), I do like for there to be a message.

    P.S. I voted for you!

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  6. By Kimberly O'Rosky on April 27, 2010

    Cute book! I like the illustrations and the fact that it introduces different careers at the back. We just started collecting books for our little Panda and so far I have been looking for ones that rhyme well.
    Off to vote for you!!!

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  7. By on April 27, 2010

    I voted earlier today.

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  8. By on April 27, 2010

    I love illustrations. The writing in the book can be good even great but if the illustrations fall short…I think the reason I feel that way is because for kids the illustrations are what will first draw them in.

    (11)

  9. By on April 27, 2010

    I love the simplicity of this book and don’t have any about bears yet.

    My parents moved to this country before I was born and was never read to as a child. It wasn’t part of their life, so wasn’t part of mine until much later. My now husband bought me my first children’s book. I’d never read the Giving Tree or Goodnight Moon until after college!

    Thank you for encouraging us to read to our children!

    (12)

  10. By on April 27, 2010

    I also like books that I can memorize, and my 20 month old daughter is starting to memorize some of her favorites too.  We are having fun reading together, I’ll pause where I know she has memorized the word that comes next and she “reads” it to me.

    (13)

  11. By on April 27, 2010

    I love illustrations…I was an art major in college…I like eye catching..

    (14)

  12. By on April 27, 2010

    I have an 8 and almost 2 year old so I look for different things for them. Right now my two year old is all about the pictures and touch. I recently got him a new touch and feel book. I love simple pictures where he can point out the animals or things he recoginzes. For my older child, I like books that ingage her creative thinking and are age appropriate.

    (15)

  13. By beyond on April 27, 2010

    i love the illustrations best. i like a good story too, but i don’t value a good storybook with bad art.

    (16)

  14. By beyond on April 27, 2010

    just voted for you!

    (17)

  15. By Sarah@Crazy Love Gamble Style on April 27, 2010

    I like a book with great illustrations and a catchy rhyme or theme.  I like ones that don’t get old super fast.

    Ava likes ones where she can remember what is coming and help me read them. 

    We love reading together.

    Ava talks about going to work and her job all the time so I think she would enjoy this one.

    (18)

  16. By Sarah@Crazy Love Gamble Style on April 27, 2010

    I vote for you everyday you put that link up.  Keep putting up, it is a helpful reminder.

    (19)

  17. By on April 27, 2010

    Rhymes and a fun story are a starting point for us.  Rather they were before we actually had the baby and realized siimple colourful books of the board variety were better suited for him at this stage!

    That said my husband and I still really enjoy the rhyming books - they are much easier to sing the words to.

    (20)

  18. By Heidi on April 27, 2010

    What a cute book!  I love books that have lessons to be learned.  As a teacher, I use books of all kinds to talk about the rules, math, and making good food choices.  There’s a book for every lesson!

    (21)

  19. By on April 27, 2010

    Ok, so there are two important things to me, when looking for a childrens book. Illustration, and a loving message delivered in a fun and witty manner.

    (22)

  20. By teetotaled on April 27, 2010

    While I am a sucker for pretty illustrations I think I value a great story most of all!

    (23)

  21. By on April 27, 2010

    I value artistry. Since my little man is only 3.5 months old, pictures say 1000 words.  I take notice of color, stroke, image, composition and love those that go wild!

    Oh and voted for you too!

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  22. By on April 27, 2010

    My girls are just 5 months so I like books that have a great rhyming scheme to them. Large, colorful illustrations are great, too.

    (26)

  23. By on April 27, 2010

    Voted for you on Top Baby Blogs!

    (27)

  24. By Ann Murray Haag on April 27, 2010

    Nostalgia. Most of the books that I’ve purchased for my son are books I had as a little one.  That being said we are lucky that we’ve gotten many great books as gifts!

    (28)

  25. By on April 27, 2010

    I don’t have kids yet but I do teach the toddlers class at our church and have been trying to incorperate reading to them during snack time.  I have been getting a good handle on what they actually enjoy and what is logistically the best.  Bright colors, easy to recognize illustrations, and animals are the favorites.  With the animals, making the appropraite noise and asking them to do the same is always fun.  Logistically I have realized that at that young of an age, the thick cardboard pages are best because they don’t rip when the kids want a turn to look at it.

    (29)

  26. By on April 27, 2010

    Right now, I look for books that are sturdy!  My 7 month old likes to rip paper, so we go with board books!

    (30)

  27. By Christy on April 27, 2010

    I don’t have 1 specific thing that I look for in a book, children or otherwise.  I look for books that “speak” to me.

    (31)

  28. By on April 27, 2010

    Board books with my 7m twins are the best because they can’t tear them apart!

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  29. By on April 27, 2010

    what a great looking book!
    at this point in my baby’s almost 9 months on the planet, i look for something with great illustrations and simple concepts. and pages he can’t tear out.  our current favorite is “Curious George Color Fun”. it is 7 very thick board pages long, has no words and pictures for each color of the rainbow. He literally goes bananas everytime we “read” it.  It also gives me the opportunity to point to pictures and say them (and their colors) in both English and Greek ( which is good for the greek-student mommy as well).
    I voted for you, and honestly, I vote for you almost everyday anyway because you are the cat’s pajamas. and i am VERY fond of cats…and pajamas.

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  30. By Crystal on April 27, 2010

    Right now because my son is at such a young age I look for illustrations that will draw his attention to the book. I like books that are simple and easy at this stage.

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  31. By on April 27, 2010

    It depends, the content of the story is important and I totally agree with whomever said that the story shouldn’t talk down to children, but I’m also a sucker for good illustrations.

    Good illustrations draw children in and get them to explore the pages and get used to settling down with books and can lead to to great conversations.  Richard Scary books are great for this and I LOVE Graeme Base. Anyone who loves art should check out his books they have it all. Rhymes, AMAZING artwork and catchy stories.

    (36)

  32. By Beth on April 27, 2010

    My 2 months aren’t up but wanted you to know I’m voting for ya. :)

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  33. By on April 27, 2010

    I voted for you :o)  yea first page!

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  34. By on April 27, 2010

    I look for it all in a book!  I am a special education teacher, and my students read the same books for years - they’re in my class for four years total, and we do a lot of reading.  We need our books to have the illustrations, the rhyme, and something to talk about, too.

    (41)

  35. By on April 28, 2010

    We get books for all those reasons…sometimes it’s the lesson, sometimes the pictures, sometimes it’s the rhyming.  My 3 yr old. son loves books and my 6 month old daughter likes reading but would rather eat them.

    I voted for you.

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  36. By on April 28, 2010

    Bekah also really seems to like the rhyming books right now so rhyming is a a big plus.

    (44)

  37. By Jenny | The Balow Bunch on April 28, 2010

    I think it depends on the age. For babies, I like books that rhyme. I also think rhyming is helpful for younger kids so that they can memorize the books. For toddlers and up, I think it’s great when there is some sort of lesson involved.

    (45)

  38. By Jenny | The Balow Bunch on April 28, 2010

    I voted for you!

    (46)

  39. By Meghan on April 28, 2010

    For our 18 month old, rhyme is really important - the sing-song effect really holds her attention.

    For the 4 year olds, a story that’s easy to follow and pictures that help tell the story.

    (47)

  40. By Cynthia A on April 28, 2010

    I would say the illustrations drive me in (what is a book without good illustrations- at least for a 6 month old!) After that I would go for content…Is there a theme, lesson, something we can talk about. 

    I voted for you as always!!

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  41. By sarah on April 28, 2010

    Ease of reading!! 

    pictures and content!

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  42. By beyond on April 28, 2010

    entry number two!

    (51)

  43. By on April 28, 2010

    entering again - i like this one :)
    congrats on making page one BTW!

    (52)

  44. By Heidi on April 28, 2010

    I voted!  :)

    (53)

  45. By Dandy on April 28, 2010

    I like the ones with great illustrations and stories that expose children to something new or a good moral or theme

    (54)

  46. By Crystal on April 28, 2010

    voted today :)

    (55)

  47. By on April 28, 2010

    I really appreciate a book when it easily lends it self to more than what is on the page. For example, my six-month-old has always loved Brown Bear, Brown Bear because we make the animal noises in addition to just reading the story.

    (56)

  48. By on April 28, 2010

    2nd Entry!

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  49. By Cynthia A on April 29, 2010

    Voting!  I also am drawn in by the size and proportions of the actual book, I do not know why (not my first reason though)!

    (58)

  50. By on April 29, 2010

    2nd entry…and I voted again today.  :)

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  51. By Sarah O on April 29, 2010

    I look for pictures now, and I’ll probably look for lessons as she grows.

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  52. By Sarah O on April 29, 2010

    I voted for you.

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  53. By Mary @ Parenthood on April 29, 2010

    I’m big on fun rhymes, big simple pictures, not too much text at the moment.  Anything that lends itself to sound effects or things to touch / feel (flap books are very popular).

    Elizabeth especially loves to flip the pages very quickly (she’s mostly stopped trying to eat the books though).  It’s hilarious listening to her father read to her - he just reads whatever text he can see at the time.  So many stories end up very abbreviated and out of order.  Often hilariously so.

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  54. By on April 29, 2010

    entry three :) voting everyday!

    (63)

  55. By on April 30, 2010

    My entry of the day - and I voted for you again.  #17, baby!  :)


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