Explore World Geography with Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle: Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?


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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle has been a favorite of my boys (Caterpillar – 3, Wild Thing – 5) for years, so I knew they would love Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (Brown Bear and Friends) from Martin and Carle — and they do!

It quickly became their new Bill Martin Jr. favorite (they also love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom). We’ve read it over and over, and it is a perfect book for Wild Thing, who is an emerging reader. At first, he immediately read it as “What do you see?” but I encouraged him to look at the letters, and he discovered for himself that in this book it is “What do you hear?” I’ve loved watching he and his brother read this book together.


We love reading books, but we also love extending books through creative activities. We received a new wall map of the world for Christmas from my mother, we decided to do a world geography activity to go with the book. The boys and I looked up where each animal in the book lives so that we could put those animals on our maps. We gathered up our Ranger Rick Jr. magazines and cut out pictures of the various animals we needed, which was great scissor practice for Caterpillar.


Wild Thing got to do some drawing (great for his early writing skills and for pencil grip practice). We couldn’t find a peacock in any of our magazines, so he drew his own.


Our wall map is a laminated map, so we could tape our animals to the map with no worry of damaging it, and the boys loved exploring the map and helping to put the animals on it.



They were very proud of the map when they were done — so proud that Wild Thing wanted to take the final picture of the map himself, and I think he did a good job!

MappingPolarBearBookWhat are your favorite ways to explore geography and maps with your kids? Which books do you use to learn about the world? We’d love to know!





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Jennifer Fischer

Jennifer Fischer is a writer, mediamaker, and teaching artist whose work has been featured by NBCLatino, ABC, Univision, Fusion, NBCBLK, etc. Her film “THE wHOLE” premiered at Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary Human Rights Conference. Recent publications include pieces in Ms. Magazine, Last Girls Club, Literary Mama, Oranges Journal, Barzakh Magazine and Under Her Eye from Black Spot Books. An essay of hers appears in What is a Criminal? Answers from Inside the U.S. Justice System, an anthology from Routledge, published Jan. 2023.

1 thought on “Explore World Geography with Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle: Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?”

  1. What a fabulous idea for a follow up activity! We’re huge fans of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Polar Bear, Polar Bear – am pinning this 🙂

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