No birthday today, but there are four tomorrow so today I want to write about Bill Martin Jr whose birthday is tomorrow. What would a kindergarten classroom be without Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Every child learns to read with this book and every child believes they can read because of the very strong correlation between the rhythmic, patterned text and the bright Eric Carle illustrations which allow them to participate successfully in the reading process. Having read this book, they very quickly read Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?; and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?
If you read Bill Martin's biography he talks about growing up in a house without books and not reading a book for himself until he was in college. He does say though that, " a blessed thing happened to me. I had a teacher who read to me. Miss Davis never missed a day reading to us...She turned my ears to literate language, to the voice of text." Every teacher needs to hear this and know that they should read to their class every day too. We are so much luckier than Miss Davis, there is just so much quality literature to choose from. We have no excuse!
Bill Martin Jr has left such a wonderful legacy and teachers need to know about it and ensure that we heed what he has said. You also need to listen to how wonderfully he reads Brown Bear on Youtube. Really he almost sings it, he is so enthusiastic about it.
Also, another of his books worth looking at as we come up to Poetry Day is Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry which is also illustrated by Eric Carle. It is thick and heavy but packed with poems!