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What’s that strange buzz coming from the double bass? Berlioz has no time to investigate, because he and his bear orchestra are due at the gala ball in the village square at eight. But Berlioz is so worried about his buzzing bass that he steers the mule and his bandwagon full of magicians into a hole in the road and gets stuck.

from Berlioz the Bear at

This book about a bass playing bear provides the base for lots of lessons. You’ll find gobs of learning opportunities in our Berlioz the Bear unit study and lapbook.

Berlioz the Bear Unit Study Lessons

Here are a few sample lessons from the Berlioz the Bear unit study:

Language Arts: Illustrations Tell a Story
Study the illustrations. Notice how the borders keep the story moving along as we anticipate the next event. The animals are busy in the village square readying everything for the concert; at the end of the book we see the animals in the border enjoying the dance.  Your student may want to narrate for you what the animals in the border are doing; this is similar to a story within a story. If you have other Jan Brett books, you may want to look at them and do the same activity. 

Language Arts: Onomatopoeia
The two words buzz and zum are used throughout the story; they are special words because they sound like what they are. These words are called onomatopoetic words. Think of other instruments with your student. Can you think of onomatopoetic words to describe the instruments?  (clank, clink, plink, hum, toot, etc.)

Character Building: Pride
Some of the animals seem very sure of themselves that they will be able to pull the wagon. While there isn’t anything wrong with having some confidence, they seem very proud and boastful when you hear their rude words to the other animals. Discuss some examples from the book.  Are all the animals proud? What does the Bible say about this kind of pride?

Proverbs 16:18-19- “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” 

Math: Telling Time
Berlioz looks at his watch in this story; they also mention when it turns 8 o’clock and the chiming of the bell. You may want to introduce, practice, or review different aspects of telling time. You could also create telling time word problems for your student.  Example: “If Berlioz wanted to be at the village square by 7:30 and it is now 8:00, how late is he?” 

Music: Instruments
Discuss different types of instruments and identify the instruments in the Berlioz Orchestra.  If your student isn’t ready to identify the instruments from the book, you may want to simply introduce different kinds of instruments. 

You can grab a copy of the entire Berlioz the Bear unit study and lapbook in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

Berlioz the Bear Lapbook Printables

This free download also includes these Berlioz the Bear lapbook printables that correspond to the lessons found in the unit study:

  • Onomatopoeia Mini-book
  • Flag of Germany Simple Fold
  • Where in the World is Germany? Shutterfold Book
  • Musical Notes Tab Book
  • Real or Imaginary Twice Folded Book
  • Pride Matchbook
  • Animal Cards
    You can use these for sequencing activities or as animal classification cards (write animal facts on the cards). Store them in a pocket or envelope in your lapbook.
  • Vocabulary Flap Book

How to Get Started

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Berlioz the Bear unit study and lapbook.

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Berlioz the Bear, or grab one from your local library.
  2. Print the Berlioz the Bear unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the Berlioz the Bear lapbook printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy a week of musical learning with your student.

Download Your Berlioz the Bear Unit Study and Lapbook

Berlioz the Bear Unit Study & Lapbook

More Unit Studies Based on Jan Brett Books

Daisy Comes Home Unit Study
Comet’s Nine Lives Unit Study & Printables
The Umbrella Unit Study