Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear (audio) – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my new feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy, since we are definitely reading more than one book a week!

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle, narrated by Gwyneth Paltrow in English and Adriana Sananes in Spanish
Published by Macmillan Young Listeners, an imprint of Macmillan

“Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” companion or sequel to “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” Like “Brown Bear,” it has predictive text with each animal hearing another, which then hears another. In some ways, I actually prefer this one, because of the rich descriptions of animal noises (the boa constrictor ‘hissing,’ the elephant ‘trumpeting’). Plus, we’re huge Eric Carle fans around here, so anything he has written or illustrated is a big hit.

I will say, that even with my confidence in all things Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, I was a bit hesitant to try the audio book with Daniel. For one thing, I was totally unsure how Gwyneth Paltrow would do as a narrator. What I didn’t take into account was that she is a mom who clearly has lots of experience reading to her own young children, because she read with spot-on ‘mom reading to toddler’ enthusiasm, fun voices and all. Because of this, Daniel definitely enjoyed the experience of listening to the audiobook while sitting in my lap and having me turn the pages. It isn’t an option I would use frequently at this age, but I can see doing it when I have a sore throat or otherwise don’t feel well.

One nice thing, though, is that there are three different options on the audiobook, depending on what age and level reader you have. The first track is simply the book being read without any interruptions, which works well for reading the book with a parents or potentially for an older child who can read along or determine when to turn the page through animal cues. The second track would be wonderful for an emergent reader or even a pre-reader, as there is a chime to indicate when the page should be turned. I can even see Daniel being able to turn the page at each chime on his own in a few months. The third track is in Spanish for bilingual families, or, I suppose, simply if you wanted to expose your child to another language.

I really appreciate that we can pick up just the book itself, or add the cd if need be. Although I don’t think we need any more audiobooks for Daniel for the stage he is in, I can definitely see him growing into this format on his own as an older toddler or preschooler.

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Source: Personal copy
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