Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr, with collages by Eric Carle, falls solidly in the middle of “can’t put it down” and “can’t stand it”, for me. Bigger Eric Carle fans go nuts over this “classic”, but I just think maybe they’re nuts. BBBBWDYS follows a crew of boldly colored animals who have clearly just eaten (since there is no mention of the brown bear inhaling the red bird or the white dog chomping at the black sheep) and are now staring at each other. #reallife

Since I am on the fence about this one, I’ll offer pros and cons rather than my big obnoxious opinion.

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Repetition enhances a child’s memory of the colors, animals, and words.

My 3-year old can “read” this by herself, pretty much.

Carle’s illustrations are always an interesting study in color and texture.

Excellent opportunity to practice my animal voices.

The children at the end are all sorts of multicultural. It’s pretty awesome. My daughter identifies all of her friends in these faces.

My toddler never asks me to read this one multiple times in succession.


Repetition drives parents insane.

Now my kids want a blue horse and I want a purple cat. But PETA frowns on dying animals.

How on earth do you make a goldfish noise?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Know?

As it turns out, my cons are entirely selfish. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – or as I like to call it BBBBWDYS? – is an educational book, and it does education very well. It does not do entertainment well, but apparently there’s more to life.

Mom’s review: It’s not one of my favorites, but every now and then you have to pause the fun and help the little brains grow.

Toddler’s review: I will be an excellent caretaker for a blue horse. I’ll feed it peanut butter and let it ride my tricycle and I will not pull its blue mane. This book should be called Blue Horse, Blue Horse, Don’t You Want to Live With Fiona?

Baby’s review: I like when Mommy is a bird and a frog, but the bear and the dog sounds are scary. This one’s a bit too big for me to hold by myself, so I probably won’t chew on it much until my hands get bigger.



About The Author


Mom to two little ones who are way cuter than they have any right to be. Locavore, bibliophile, ambivert. Lover of architecture, the desert, and raisins. Caffeine free. Probably hangry right now.
I wrote about desert landscaping and urban water conservation in my former life.