It’s late and everyone is tired and wants to get some sleep. But Mr Bear can’t sleep. Every noise keeps him awake and, whatever he tries, he still can’t sleep. This classic picturebook follows him through the night, telling his story with gentle humour. The repetition encourages children to join in with Mr. Bear’s, “Oh NO! I can’t stand THIS!” with great relish.
Here’s a book that’s great for chiming in with sound effects and talking about family experiences.
Look together at the pictures on the front cover and the first double page spread. What clues do these give about the story? What do children think the story will be about?
Read the story aloud, taking time to talk together about the pictures as you do.
Pause when Mr Bear goes to find somewhere else to sleep. Encourage children to think what might keep him awake there. Turn the page to see if they were right.
Talk about the story
Talk together about what sounds you hear at night. What could Mr Bear do to have a good night’s sleep? Talking about the book deepens children’s understanding of the story as they make connections with their own lives.
Read the story again, this time leaving spaces for children to join in with the repeated phrases and sounds. Reading the story again and again helps children to read more of the story themselves and builds their confidence in books and reading.
Tell the story
After hearing the story a few times, children will get to know it well. Encourage them to turn the pages and use the pictures to tell it in their own words. They might use some phrases from the book or invent new parts of the story to add to the fun.
Watch the video
Things to make and do
Children can use toys to act out the story. It’s a really good way for them to get to know the story well and enjoy using story language.
Make a different ending
Children can use a bear toy as Mr Bear to tell what happened next. What did Mr Bear do to make sure he had a good sleep the next night?
Play a sound game
Place mystery noisy objects out of sight. Shake, squeeze, tap, or rattle them in turn to make a noise. See if children can guess what they are. Examples to try include: grains of rice in a small container, bubble wrap, bell, tissue paper, bottle of water, sandpaper, money, hairbrush and comb.
Sing a bedtime song
Sing lullabies and other bedtime songs before going to sleep. Here is a video of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star:
Design a bed
Children can design the perfect bed for Mr Bear by drawing painting or using collage. They can talk about all the good features they have designed to help Mr Bear sleep.
Find out more
Read more books by author/Illustrator Jill Murphy here
Five Minutes’ Peace
All in One Piece
A Quiet Night In
On the Way Home
What Next, Baby Bear
Just one of those Days
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