Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Today is day 28 of 31 in March.  If you are looking only for my poem for Poetry Friday and Poetry Jam, it is at the bottom of the page.  But I think you should read all of the post.  Just my opinion.  You can head to the bottom only if you want though.  I'll never know.

I think I will finish up March SOLC with more mini-moments with my grandson.  There were so many days where there were more things that I wanted to tell, but just couldn't fit them in.
So, how about the Brown Bear incident(s)?

Of course, no grandparent worth their salt (and especially if that grandparent happens to be a retired teacher) would go a day without reading a story to their young grandchild.  And we read a few books each day, and one at night-night time.  Sometimes I chose the book, and other times he chose it.

This particular evening I chose this book.  It is one I've read in my first grade in the beginning of the year and then we've done rewrites of the story.  This book is Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin.  Many of you, teachers and parents, are nodding your heads.  Ah, yes, what a wonderful bedtime story for a toddler.

Grandson and I snuggled on the beanbag chair in his room after brushing teeth and putting on cozy pajamas.  I began reading the book.  To see if he'd read it before, and knew some of the words, I read it slowly Brown Bear... Brown Bear... what do you see?  I see I paused to see if he knew what would be on the next page.  He didn't seem to, so I quickly turned the page and said "bird!...Looking at me!  Red bird...what do you see? (pause)  I see a yellow... (turn the page fast) duck (excitedly)  looking at me!  I read the whole book that way and he loved it and wanted me to read it again.  This night I did.

Now, the next night, I asked what he would like to have me read, and it was "Bear Book".
"Oh, you mean Brown Bear, Brown Bear?" I asked.
"Brown Bear!" he grinned and jumped up and down.
I began to read it as I had the night before, pausing and turning pages quickly to reveal the animal that was next.  But this time after the first page, he got up from our snuggle on the beanbag and walked away from me.  He walked to the middle of his room and stood there looking at me.  I was going to call him back to listen to the story, but decided to go ahead and read one more page and see if he did all by himself.  Maybe he really wasn't interested in this book after all.  Oh, no!  That wasn't it at all!
As I got to "I see a red..." and I turned the page, he screamed "bird!" and jumped up and down.
"I see a yellow..." and I turned the page.
"Duck!  Quack, quack!"  And he jumped up and down excitedly again.
..."Teacher, teacher, what do you see?... I see..."
"A children!"
 And on the very last page he, a bit more calmly, named everything that the children saw.

Guess what we did the next night.  Yes.
Same book request.  The same performance.
Except now I didn't need to turn the page before he squealed out the name of the next animal.  When I turned the page, he was delighted to find that he was correct, and jumped up and down (and sometimes twirling was involved) in celebration.

I got to pick a different book some nights, but those nights he slept with Brown Bear, Brown Bear and his wind-up flashlight.  I told him he could read it in bed after lights out.  And that flashlight was on before I could get the light shut off.

When his parents returned I got his Brown Bear book.  I decided I'd better let his mom know what I'd inadvertently created.  I told her I was sorry that I'd turned it into an active book, but that actually it was a continuation of the reading process.  He was remembering what was on the pages, acting it out and getting excited about the book.  I couldn't turn it back into a cozy, sleepy story now!
As I began to read it to him, he immediately made his way off the couch, around the coffee table and into the middle of the living room so he would have enough room for his "reading".  And he didn't disappoint me!  He did the whole thing, calling out animals before I turned the page, making animal noises and jumping up and down.

His daddy put him to bed that night. Teeth brushed, pajamas on, bedtime story and prayers done, flashlight ready... then a call from dad upstairs...
"Nannie, he's asking for a brown bubbles or something, I can't understand him."
"Oh, Brown Bear!  Just a minute, it's down here!"
I scrambled to get him the book.
Ahhh.  All was again right with the world.

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?  I see a little boy, looking at me!"

For your enjoyment - Grandson hasn't seen these, but I'm sending the links to my daughter!

Now this is kind of what HE was doing, though he hasn't seen this video yet!

And now for Poetry Jam - with "Letting Go" as the theme and a little boy fresh on my mind, and for Poetry Friday, hosted by Mary Lee at "A Year of Reading"  - since it is a poem:

Letting Go

Hold your baby gently, do not cling too tight
Wrap in blanket softly, sing to him at night
Hold your child in safety, keep him from the storm
Zip and snap and tuck to keep him snug and warm
Hold his hand and help him, guide him down the street
Give him strength to deal with anything he’d meet
Hold his bike and help him gather speed to try
Give him space to do things, so someday he’ll fly
Hold his dirty laundry - wash and dry and fold
He still needs to know that you’d be there to hold
There will come a time when you know this is done
Hold on to the memory, see what he's become
He can make his way now, you have let him grow,
Hold him in your heart then, love does not let go.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014


  1. I think he is quite smart, Donna, going to be a famous actor when he grows up. Now we have Brown Bear, & earlier there was the 'junking', then that bow after catching the truck (I think). What a darling performer!

    1. The cute thing is so far he doesn't know he's performing. He's just having the time of his life!

  2. Who says reading has to be quiet all the time? I think he's reading that story just right.

    1. That's right! He is so enjoying reading by himself and being read to. What a joy to see!

  3. Fun read and so fun being a grandma and spending time with our grandchildren.

    1. I did not know how it would be, but I'm loving how it is!

  4. Nicely done...thanks for sharing

  5. Really lovely Donna. I hope all my sons, once they leave the nest, and the children they may have will be close with me...making the "letting go" part of growing up a little easier...

    1. There is nothing like having your children as adult friends. And there's nothing like being a grandparent. Who knew?

  6. enjoyed reading about you and your grandson. I can just see his delight as he stated the answers and would dance when he found he was right. Jackie

    1. He is the picture of "delighted" almost every minute of his day - which is delightful!

  7. Gotta love those books! My "little one," who is not 42 years old, learned to "read" The Monster at the End of This Book with Loveable, Furry Old Grover. Thanks for another sweet story and a beautiful poem.

    1. My grown son and daughter both loved "The Monster at the End of This Book", too! I read that so, so many times...along with "Tawny Scrawny Lion".

  8. Adorable story-- I can picture it well!

  9. I do think we have to hold our children / grandchildren close while we can & teach them lessons while they are young. Those lessons will be remembered for life. Both my grandson and granddaughter LOVED "Brown Bear." Actually they learned to 'read' it from the repetition and felt SO proud!

    1. I'm so glad I can get another opportunity to do this with grandchildren.

  10. Letting them go, little by little, at their own pace is the best gift a parent (or grandparent) can give a child!

  11. Another charming post, Donna. And your poem: lovely - just the right touch of wistfulness, as there often is when one casts back on sweet memories raising children.

  12. one of the harder letting go's is realizing that our children are ready to be on their own in life...they will always need us...but not in the same ways...smiles.

  13. love these wonderful wise lines....and also the Brown Bear lines :D

  14. Love this story of the power of read aloud...and your sweet poem!

  15. 'the ties of family stretch to accommodate distance but they are never broken' heard that on a Waltons episode. your beautiful poem reminded me of that. thank you for sharing Donna!

  16. Donna, reading yo children is one of my favorite things! What fun to have your grandson enjoy this so much. It does go by so fast. Lovely poem :-)

  17. Beautiful post, both the introduction and the poem. I enjoyed both.

  18. This post is filled with so much love. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing all the video clips too! :)

  19. Yes, the hardest part is letting go, all those dreams just fade away. Nicely done.


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