• Overton Playgroup

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin


This month the children at Playgroup have read Brown Bear, Brown Bear – a book ideal for children aged 2-3 years. The exuberantly coloured artwork by Eric Carle (who we all know for writing The Very Hungry Caterpillar) of children’s favourite animals make this rhythmic story the perfect introduction to learning about colours.


The book follows a simple pattern of repetition:

“Brown bear, brown bear

What do you see?

I see a red bird

Looking at me

Red bird, Red bird

What do you see?

I see a yellow duck

Looking at me”

and so on through the book.


This repetition encourages children to notice and enjoy rhythmic patterns in stories and also to join in, as they can anticipate what is coming next. As you read a story like this, it’s a good idea to pause at intervals to encourage children to “read” the next word. The familiarity of the story also helps children feel confident to get involved in the story and offer comments about what they see:

“I like purple, purple is my favourite colour”

“The gold fish is like Nemo”


The simple language makes it a great story to introduce some Makaton signs, making the sign for “I see” followed by the animal names as you read the story out loud. The book is full of rhyme and alliteration, great concepts to gently introduce to small children to help them really appreciate the complexity and beauty of language.

© 2020 by Overton Playgroup. Photos courtesy of Overton Photography Club - John Hodge and Amanda Hepburn

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