My Itinerary ({: itinerary.length :})

{: event.badge :}

{: event.title :}

{: event.dates :} {: event.dateDescription :}
{: item :}
Suitable for {: item :}
1001 Stories Collection

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

1001 Were Going On A Bear Hunt
Added on 11th June 2020

Author Michael Rosen
Illustrator Helen Oxenbury
First published 1989
Publisher Walker Books, London, UK

Small Worlds Animals Environment and habitat

A picture book about a journey through the countryside to find a bear.

Story

Five children and their dog are going on a bear hunt. On their way, they must scramble through long grass, deep water, thick mud, a dark forest, and even a snowstorm. Finally, they reach a narrow, gloomy cave and wander inside…

Why we chose it

A firm favourite with parents and children. Its rhythms and repetitions make it great to read aloud and children love to join in. The beautiful illustrations tell the story and bring character and detail to the telling.

Where it came from

The story was first a folk song, sung at American summer camps. In the late 1970s, English author and poet Michael Rosen (1946 - ) heard the song and included it in his poetry show. His editor suggested he make it into a book, and asked Helen Oxenbury (1938 - ) to do the illustrations. Oxenbury based the characters on her own children and her dog. It was Oxenbury who created the family and the countryside setting and the lonely bear in the cave – Rosen had originally imagined a king and a queen and a jester going to hunt a wild bear.

Where it went next

The book was incredibly successful and has never been out of print since its first publication. It has won numerous awards and was read out in the Guinness World Record’s “Largest Reading Lesson” in 2014, attended by 1,500 children and 30,000 online listeners. The story has been adapted for stage, television, and a mobile app.

Associated stories

Michael Rosen has produced several collections of children’s poetry, including his award-winning A Great Big Cuddle and Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots. Helen Oxenbury has illustrated many other picture books, including favourites like So Much with Trish Cooke, There’s Going to be a Baby with John Burningham and Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell.

Find a bear hunt of your own in Small Worlds.

Added on 11th June 2020

Author Michael Rosen
Illustrator Helen Oxenbury
First published 1989
Publisher Walker Books, London, UK

Small Worlds Animals Environment and habitat