The bear went over the mountain
To see what he could see.
What do you think he saw?
A forest of squirrels singing,
Setting ears a-ringing.
Golly gosh! Oh my! Oh me!
It was a sight to see.
The bear might start this story by going over the mountain but the action travels from mountain to the seaside and beyond before it finally returns to the beginning. The bear sees squirrels in the forest. Then a fox sets off to see what he can see and so on all the way around the world, through hills and flat lands, beach and undersea. Illustrations provide clues as to which animal will ‘take the baton’ and take the action into a new spread. Illustrations are full page colour and provide their own narrative separate to the words. The Bear Went Over the Mountain comes with a CD for singalong. The CD has the more traditional song structure where the book features an abridged version.
Young readers will enjoy the cadences of this story and with growing familiarity the song on which it is based. Illustrations are full of detail, and re-readings will reveal new secrets. There are opportunities to open discussions about animals and their differing environments or even to introduce actions to the song. Suited for pre- and early schoolers.
The Bear Went Over the Mountain ill Louis Shea Scholastic Australia 2013 ISBN: 9781742833712
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
Available from good bookstores or online.