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A multi-book theme unit on  Karm


Books Used:
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson

Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Note:  This unit was designed for PK-1st grades


Language Arts



Each of these vocabulary words are actions used by Bear. Discuss what each word means with your child. Have your child draw Bear doing each word on the back of the corresponding card (you may want to print the cards onto cardstock for durability). On consecutive readings, have your child act out the word when he hears you read it.

Vocabulary Cards with Pictures
Vocabulary Words Blank

Vocabulary Pocket


Word  Book Example
Slumbering Bear Snores On head down sleeping/snoring
Whimpers Bear Snores On sad face/quiet crying sound
Gnarls Bear Snores On mean face/make noise  *not included in the printable files
Roars Bear Wants More loud mean noise
Wails  Bear Wants More sad, loud cry
Gobbles Bear Wants More pretend to eat quickly
Sigh Bear Stays Up      shoulders down/sigh
Plods Bear Stays Up      stand/pretend to walk through snow
Toils Bear Stays Up    working with hands


Echo Reading

Each of these delightful books lends itself to great echo reading. The title of each book is what your child will be echoing (and in most cases will be “reading” to you by the second or third reading). My son loves to chime in, “but the bear snores on!"


Traditions: (ties in with Bible lesson)

Focusing on Bear Stays Up, talk about Christmas traditions with your children, possibly starting with the tradition of gift giving. Talk about traditions your family already has, remember, although Christmas is a good starting place for your child in this lesson, traditions are created and implemented all year. Do you usually go to the same Grandparents house for Labor Day, or always camp for a week in the same spot every year? Do you start the school year off the same way every year? etc.  If possible, this would be a good time to snuggle up with your family scrapbook and reminisce about wonderful family times. Now, brainstorm some new traditions you can try this year. Print out the traditions tab book, have your child fill in and/or depict the tried and true ones and the new ones you may just implement this year.  



Animal Homes: Lair 
A lair is a home or resting place for a wild animal. Bear’s home/lair is represented in all three books. Discuss with your child what a lair is and what could be used for a lair. For example, some animals use naturally occurring lairs such as a cave or a well-hidden overhang whereas some animals such as badgers will build their own.


Create your own lair.
If the weather cooperates, find a safe and fun place to build your lair. Perhaps low dense shrubbery that you can tunnel into or trees that are close together (use boxes, tarps, blankets etc to add to the “closed-in, safe feeling.) If you cannot go out for this activity try under a desk, the back of a closet or even the tub with a blanket thrown over it! Be creative and have fun. If time permits, act out part of one the books. Perhaps, your child could be the snoring bear and you and/or siblings could be the other animals.


Brown Bears and Polar Bears
Use the venn diagram to compare and contrast brown bears and polar bears (you can also make it into a minit book).


Brown Bears:

Average life: 21-33 years


Can run up to 35 miles per hour

Live in the Northern hemisphere

Natural predator is the Siberian Tiger


Both Bears:

Short stubby tails

Short ears

Eat fish

Not true hibernators* (are easily awakened)


Polar Bears:

Fur is “hollow” (for warmth)

Live in artic regions

Humans are their only predator

Live an average 15-18 years

Only pregnant females will enter a snow den


If you are working with an older child or a very inquisitive one, you may want to further research the “hibernation” of bears.  For this lesson, I have sufficed it to say they are easily woken up such as Bear is in Bear Snores On and in Bear Stays Up. If your child questions this, research it together. You should be able to obtain the information on the Internet or at your library.



Traditions/Gift Giving
With a focus on Bear Stays Up, discuss gift giving at Christmas with your child.  This book is a wonderful way to introduce (or review) the reason why you give gifts.

Review the wise men and the three gifts that they brought to baby Jesus and the significance of each.  After this lesson, print the gift flip flap book, have your child draw the corresponding picture under each flap.

After drawing each object, you could have your student add glitter to the gold flap, rub a small amount of liquid incense (or perfume) to frankincense, rub a spice onto the myrrh, and make the “best gift of all” flap extra special (perhaps let him use paint or marker on this one and add a photo of themselves or your family).

Gold: this is believed to have been given to baby Jesus to help with the expenses they would incur. Remember, God told Joseph in a dream to not return home. Joseph would not be returning to his home and job for many years yet he would still be responsible for Mary and Jesus.

Frankincense: this was an expensive incense used to burn during special religious worship times.

Myrrh: myrrh was a spice used to anoint dead bodies in preparation for burial.

Jesus: the greatest gift ever given. God gave His precious and only son to die for our salvation and the salvation of our children.


Memory Verse

Print the John 3:16 pull tab on cardstock. Have your child cut/paste the verse on to the blank area (or write part of it)   Your child will enjoy reviewing the verse each day.


Social Studies


Each of these three books include the same community of animal friends: Bear, Mouse, Hare, Badger, Gopher, Mole, Wren, and Raven. A community is a group of people (or in this case animals) that share an environment (Bear’s lair and the surrounding area) and have common interests.  The animals work together to help each other. For instance, in Bear Snores On the animals work together to get warm and make food. In Bear Wants More they work together to find food for a hungry bear. In Bear Stays Up  they work together to keep Bear awake so they can share Christmas.

Discuss the importance of working together and helping each other. How does this help your family and home run better and demonstrate love for one another? Print the “Helping my Family” wheel book (you may want to use cardstock) and have your child either write or draw pictures of four ways they can help their family.


Counting/Adding and Subtracting

There are many opportunities in these books for practicing counting.

Using Bear Snores On, count the different actions used by Bear when he is first awoken: gnarls, snarls, roars, rumbles, jumps, stomps, growls, and grumbles. Count the animals on the pages as they increase: 1 Mouse, 2 Mouse and Hare, 3 Mouse, Hare, and Badger, then Gopher, Mole, Wren and Raven enter together (4) and they are all represented on the following page (7 total). On the last two pages all eight friends are shown.

Using Bear Stays Up, count the stockings hanging by the door; now count the friends. Is there the same number? (no) Who do you think does not have a stocking and why? To further this lesson you could use socks from your family to practice adding and subtracting.

Using Bear Wants More, determine how many different things does Bear eat before he tries to get into his lair? (four: grass, strawberries, clover, and fish)



All three of these books are illustrated by the same person, Jane Chapman. Spend some time going through each book enjoying the beautiful pictures she has created. Right away your child will notice many similarities such as, each book begins in Bear’s lair and each book ends with someone sleeping. As previously mentioned, each book has the same community of friends in it (Bear, Mouse, hare, Badger, Gopher, Mole, Wren, and Raven).

Print the
shutter book and clipart page for your child. Now challenge your child to find the items from the clipart page that are in all three books (plate, cup, teapot, cooking fire, scarf, and the three sticks used to hold the kettle).  I couldn't find a clip-art of a kettle, so your child may want to draw that one (or you could draw it for him.)  Once your child has found all seven have him cut out, and paste the seven correct items to the inside of the book.  

Crafts and Other Fun


Snow is beautifully illustrated in both Bear Snores On  and in Bear Stays Up.  Discuss with your child that snow is really ice crystals. You should be able to find some great illustrations of snow crystals from books at your library or from the included website. Then make a crystal with your child. Follow this link for both beautiful colored photos and a recipe for creating your own crystal.


Paper Snowflakes

For younger children, or for older ones who would like to create on their own, show them how to fold a  piece of paper and cut out designs to create different snowflakes. You can also use coffee filters for this projects. For ideas, you can go here.


Bear Snowman

Look at the bear snowman on the last page of Bear Stays Up (Mole is working on it). If you are doing this book during a snowy season, go out and make a bear snowman. If it isn’t snowing, or if it doesn’t snow where you live make one inside! You can purchase a bucket of “snow” at teacher supply stores. Most are simple to make, just add water (and they keep for a long time). Have fun creating Bear and all of his friends (what a fun way to spend a hot day indoors in the air conditioning)!

There were several different treats used in these books.

Bear Snores On: popcorn, black tea, honey-nuts, stew (it does not state a particular type)

Bear Wants More: strawberries, fish, honey-cakes (not to mention grass and clover)

Bear Stays Up:  mint tea, popcorn (for the tree this time), and fruitcake. Cookies are also shown in this book.

You could either make a treat or two after each book or have a Bear and Friends meal at the end of this unit and try them all!

Print the recipe pocket and include your favorite recipes from this unit study.

Follow the links to find a recipe for Honey-cake and fruitcake