by Brenda Guiberson, illustrated by Ed Young. 2010, Henry Holt and Company.

Recommended Ages: K-2


In this magnificent, deceptively simple book, Guiberson’s text and Ed Young’s stunning illustrations combine forces to make readers truly care about the hardy little Moon Bear. We follow Moon Bear as she wakens from hibernation, marks her territory, searches for food, listens for dangers, and eventually prepares for another long nap–from which she emerges as a mother with two cubs. The book is noteworthy for several reasons: First, the verbs are striking. Moon Bear is constantly on the move or up to something and the writer makes the most of it. Second, the text is interactive. As the writer poses questions–Who scratches the birch tree and licks oozing sap?–students have a chance to chime in with the answer. And third, both text and illustrations sing with voice. Ed Young, always masterful, manages to create collage Moon Bears that touch our hearts and make us eager to befriend these loveable creatures.

In the Classroom

  • Talk about bears in general. What do your writers know about bears already? Who has heard of the Moon Bear?
  • Find the southeast Asian home of the Moon Bear on a map or globe. Have any of your students visited or li ed in this part of the world? Has one of them seen a real Moon Bear?
  • How do your writers expect bears in general to behave? What bears do they recall from other literature? As you share the story, ask them to think about whether Moon Bear is just what they would expect–or different.
  • Share the book more than once and invite students to join in by vocalizing their answers to the writer’s continual questions.
  • Draw some bears of your own–Moon Bears or any species. Consider trying some collage art–either for the bears themselves or for the forest background (bears can be pasted on).
  • Check the photos and text in the back of this book for information on saving the Moon Bear from extinction. Talk about things you and your writers can do.
  • Choose favorite verbs from the story to act out. This will help young writers recall them–and encourage them to use these verbs in their own writing.