One of my favorite classic Valentine books is The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting (illustrated by Jan Brett). There is a lot of text in this book for a 2 year old. Before reading this book to my two year old,Logan, I did a picture walk. A picture walk introduces the book to the child before reading the book. Picture walks will vary based on a child’s reading level and a child’s background knowledge. A picture walk for The Valentine Bears might sound something like this:
This book is called The Valentine Bears. In this story, Mrs. Bear and Mr. Bear set an alarm clock so they can wake up from their long winter’s sleep (or hibernation) in time for Valentine’s Day. Look at the cover. What do you notice? (your child may say something like, “The bears are giving each other Valentine Cards.”) If your child doesn’t make the connection that bears should be sleeping during Valentine’s Day, you might say something like, hmm, that’s kind of funny because I thought bears were hibernating during Valentine’s Day.
Pick a few spots in the book that are important to the story. Here are some spots I picked out.
Page 1- Look at this cave. The bears go in there to sleep all winter.
Page 3- There’s the alarm clock. Mrs. Bear set her alarm clock for February. Hey, Valentine’s Day is in February.
Page 7- Mrs. Bear is going out in the snow. I don’t see any other animals. I wonder if they are still sleeping. I wonder if Mr. Bear is still sleeping?
Page 10- Look at the hearts. Why do you think Mrs. Bear made hearts for Mr. Bear? (Maybe because it is Valentine’s Day).
Page 15- Oh no, Mr. Bear is still sleeping. Will he ever wake up for Valentine’s Day.
Page 20- What is Mrs. Bear doing? How will she wake up Mr. Bear?
You can either stop and read the book to find out or you can continue your picture walk through the end of the book depending on the amount of support you want to give to your reader.
After reading the book, we created a shape bear.
We started with these shapes:
We practiced building the bear face a few times before we glued it together. Logan just started Handwriting without Tears- if you are familiar with their mat man activity, we based it on that. Basically we built the bear and sang about it. We sang, “The Valentine Bear has 2 eyes so that he can see.” etc.
After building the bear, I let him glue his together. It turned out so cute: