Friday, July 6, 2018

BUT THE BEAR CAME BACK by Tammi Sauer & Dan Taylor - A humorous book about friendship

My kindergarten students loved this story! I thought it might be too simple an idea but it generated a surprising amount of discussion. It’s also a great mentor text for picture book writers.

Summary from Amazon:

Knock, knock. Who’s there? A BEAR! A furry, friendly PERSISTENT bear. And no matter how many times a particular little boy tries to tell him that bears don’t belong in houses, he keeps coming back—until, one day, he doesn’t. Only then does the boy realize how much he cares about the bear . . . and misses him. Can he find his friend again? A funny, surprising story about two unexpected pals.

But the Bear Came Back was written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Taylor and published by Sterling in 2018.


One ordinary day, a bear knocked on my door.
I politely informed him that bears do not belong in houses.
Then I said, “Go home, bear.”
And that was that.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

This story is an excellent mentor text for writers. The structure is clear—the boy has a problem (that keeps coming back). The writing style is modern and spare, but humorous. There’s a warm and satisfying ending, too. It’s a complete story on its own, but so much more when paired with the illustrations. I loved the expressions on the character’s faces and the signs and messages that contributed to creating a fully developed reading experience.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

My students enjoyed predicting what might happen next…would the bear come back again? We discussed what it might be like to have a friend that keeps wanting to play when you’re not feeling up to it. It’s a nice book for introducing discussions about the ups and downs of friendship, and also the idea of being patient sometimes. My students asked me to re-read this book several times, so I’m planning to purchase it for my classroom (the copy I read was from a local library).

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K – 2

Themes: bears, problem-solving, friendship


Write: What do you the bear’s home is like? Describe what might happen if the boy visited the bear.

Brainstorm: What words could you use to say to a friend that keeps coming back, even when you say no?

Draw: What do you think the boy and the bear will do on their next adventure? Draw a picture to show your idea.

For a behind the scenes look at Dan Taylor's illustrations, courtesy of The Bright Agency go here.

There’s a wonderful book talk on this book by Colby Sharp:

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