Friday, January 30, 2015

Flannel Friday: Bear's Picture

This flannel story is loosely based on Frank Asch's Bread and Honey, but I have changed it a little bit to make it a more dramatic flannelboard. (See notes at the end)

One day at school, Bear painted a picture of his mother. He gave her a nice round bear face, a short bear neck, two little bear eyes, some friendly bear eyes, a little bear nose, and a sweet bear smile. (I put on the pieces as I say each piece). 

He was so proud of his picture that he decided to take it home to show his mother.

On the way home, he ran in to his friend Giraffe. He showed him the picture of his mother and Giraffe said "It's nice, but don't you think the nose is a little small?" Little Bear looked. "I guess I can give her a longer neck," So Little Bear painted on a longer neck.

"How's that?" He asked. "It's perfect," Giraffe replied. And Little Bear kept walking.

He runs into several animal friends on the way who all suggest changes that Little Bear dutifully follows. (The conversation is the same as above, except, obviously, for the specific body part). 

Owl thinks the eyes are too small. 

Rabbit thinks the ears are too small. 

Alligator thinks the mouth is too small. 

Lion thinks it needs a mane. 

And Elephant thinks the nose is too small.  

Once Little Bear gets the picture home, he shows his mother by saying "Look, Mom, I drew a picture of you!" And Momma Bear looks at it and says "It's perfect."

"Just as it is?" Asks Little Bear. "Just as it is," says his mother.

And that's the story of why, if you go to the bear's house, you will see this picture on their refrigerator.

Notes on the telling:

- I changed the order of the animals from the book's version because I wanted the changes to go from more subtle (the neck, the eyes) to the ridiculous (the nose, the mane). It's also easier to put the ears before the mane and the mouth before the nose so I don't have to switch those parts later on.

- I put a clean paintbrush with this set and when I tell it on my flannel board on wheels, I spin the board towards me, "paint" on the changes, and then swing it back so kids can see it. Ta DA!

- Sometimes, with younger kids especially, I make Little Bear roll up his picture (roll my arms) and then unroll his picture (a hand motion that looks like unrolling a scroll) each time. This keeps the ones who need action a little more engaged. I find it's unnecessary with the kindergarten classes (who, by the way, are hysterical by the time I'm done changing Bear's picture).

- I am lucky in that I have stuffed animals in my collection that match all the animals that Little Bear meets. I put them in a big bag and pull them out one by one. I've found that some kids will start to guess what the animal wants changed, so I say "It's nice, but......." and pause to let them guess what the animal is going to say.

And yes, I find I have choked up more than once on the "perfect just as it is" part, especially when looking down into all the lovely faces of my kids. Power through, people, power through.

And Happy Friday!


  1. Your writing has convinced me that it is time to do this story. I like how you thought through the order of placing the pieces on and even the rolling and unrolling of the imaginary paper. And you even invite the kids to guess which part from the stuffed animals. Very creative, inclusive - right up my alley! Your pieces are adorable - I am adding this to my "flannelize soon" pile. Thanks ~ jane

    1. Thank you! It was a favorite book of mine when I was a child and now I love telling it. I even told it to sixty five first graders on a class visit (who were rolling on the floor by the end of it) so it scales up and down nicely. It's fun for everyone.


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