100 books like Big Black Bear

By Wong Herbert Yee,

Here are 100 books that Big Black Bear fans have personally recommended if you like Big Black Bear. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dancin' in the Kitchen

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Pickin' Peas

From my list on singing picture books.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Children’s Librarian for over 30 years, my passion has been for the sound of language. I want children to hear rhythmic, joyful language that will make them fall in love with words. My own career as a storyteller and author continues this same love of language. I try to write my own picture books in such a way that any adult who picks them up will read them out with the same kind of verve and joy that I put into them.  


Margaret's book list on singing picture books

Margaret Read MacDonald Why did Margaret love this book?

A great Thanksgiving treat. “Dancin’ in the kitchen. The family’s packed in tight. I think we may be dancin’ in the kitchin’ all night!” The family cooks, sets the table, and eats…all while dancing and chanting along.  Get your beat going. Hand out spoons to beat on pans and rock along with this joyful picture book. All the way to the end, “Grandpa does the washin’. We all pitch in to dry. We’re still dancin’ in the kitchen, with the radio way up high!” 

By Wendy Gelsanliter, Frank Christian, Marjorie Priceman (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dancin' in the Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Dinner time is dancin' at Grandma's house while the chicken and dumplings simmer on the stove and all three generations of the family groove to the music on the kitchen radio, working up generous appetites.


Book cover of The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

Catherine Ann Cullen Author Of The Song of Brigid’s Cloak

From my list on children’s stories with a song connection.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a poet, children’s writer, and songwriter from Drogheda, Ireland. Ballads were always part of my family life. My favourite uncle, Gerry Cullen, is a song collector and singer who was central to the revival of folk singing in Drogheda. It was only when I embarked on a Creative Writing PhD in 2015 that I fully recognised the influence of ballads on my work. This has brought me deeper into ballad studies and I have just begun a postdoctoral fellowship at University College Dublin to reclaim lost street poets and tenement balladeers of 19th-century Ireland. For me, the ballad is a peerless narrative form: compact, rhyming, rhythmic, and memorable.  

Catherine's book list on children’s stories with a song connection

Catherine Ann Cullen Why did Catherine love this book?

In 1961, American illustrator Peter Spier won a Caldecott Honor for his version of this ancient song, and in 2014 he revisited his book, turning the black and white illustrations into glorious colour. As a scholar of ballads, I’m thrilled by their persistent popularity. The first evidence of “The Fox” is in a manuscript in the British Library from the second half of the fifteenth century, with its chorus—“Pax vobis, quoth the fox, for I am going to the town.” It’s clearly the same song, just missing the ‘o’ after town. What’s the attraction? Besides Spier’s shimmering double spreads of Americana, there’s tight storytelling with great visual details, a tune, a chorus, and a hero’s journey with a happy ending—for Fox and his family, at least! 

By Peter Spier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

This Caldecott Honor book from beloved illustrator Peter Spier is a spirited take on a classic American folk song.

"[Spier's] finely detailed, action-packed New England autumn vistas are almost startlingly beautiful."—The New York Times 
 
Over fifty years after he won a Caldecott Honor for The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night, legendary illustrator Peter Spier went back to this time-honored favorite in 2014 to paint the half of the book that was originally printed in black and white. In this glowing, restored vision of Spier’s beloved classic, follow the wily fox as he roams a sleepy New England town…


Book cover of Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Pickin' Peas

From my list on singing picture books.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Children’s Librarian for over 30 years, my passion has been for the sound of language. I want children to hear rhythmic, joyful language that will make them fall in love with words. My own career as a storyteller and author continues this same love of language. I try to write my own picture books in such a way that any adult who picks them up will read them out with the same kind of verve and joy that I put into them.  


Margaret's book list on singing picture books

Margaret Read MacDonald Why did Margaret love this book?

“Mommy, buy me a China Doll, Do, Mommy Do,” but, “What could I buy it with, Eliza Lou?” Eliza Lou has many suggestions…trade our Daddy’s feather bed…"Then where would Daddy sleep”…He could sleep in the horsey’s bed. “Then where would horsey sleep”…and on and on until Eliza ends up asleep herself…on Mommy’s lap. A soothing lullaby with or without the evocative illustrations by the Zemach team.   

By Harve Zemach, Margot Zemach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"When Mommy wonders how to get a china doll for Eliza Lou, Eliza suggests they trade Daddy's featherbed...The ridiculous swapping of sleeping places is aptly portrayed in strong, boldly drawn, colored illustrations which underline the humor and folk quality of the lilting cumulative verses. A deliciously funny picture book for small children."-Booklist


Book cover of Bears Are Sleeping

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Pickin' Peas

From my list on singing picture books.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Children’s Librarian for over 30 years, my passion has been for the sound of language. I want children to hear rhythmic, joyful language that will make them fall in love with words. My own career as a storyteller and author continues this same love of language. I try to write my own picture books in such a way that any adult who picks them up will read them out with the same kind of verve and joy that I put into them.  


Margaret's book list on singing picture books

Margaret Read MacDonald Why did Margaret love this book?

This is a perfect, soothing lullaby. “Bears are sleeping, deer are sleeping, snow is piling high. Even hungry wolves are sleeping…hush and bye you bye..” Soft, blurry illustrations of sleeping animals in a snowy Russian countryside. Notes for the lullaby run along the bottom of the pages. My daughters loved this gentle bedtime book, a last…quiet book before kissing them goodnight.  

By Yulya, Nonny Hogrogian (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bears Are Sleeping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners

Mike Amante Author Of The Puppy Who Lost His Woof

From my list on animals that teaches good morals and values.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Filipino illustrator who draws children’s books for both publishers and for private commissions. I also have been reading children’s books as part of my job. My go-to children's stories are often about animals and nature. I hope you'll like the books on this list as much as I do!

Mike's book list on animals that teaches good morals and values

Mike Amante Why did Mike love this book?

This is one of my favorite children’s books until today. It’s wonderfully illustrated and it teaches good manners in a fun way. I like how Brother Bear and Sister Bear pretended to observe good manners in compliance with Mama Bear’s Politeness Plan but as time passed, they eventually ended up practicing good manners out of habit. I also like that the book showed that not even the grown-ups (such as Papa Bear) are exempted from the house rules.

By Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

This classic Berenstain Bears story is a perfect way to teach children about the importance of good manners!

Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Mama has noticed that Papa, Brother, and Sister have not been using their good manners, so now it’s up to her to help get back on track. Includes over 50 bonus stickers!


Book cover of Can Bears Ski?

Wanda Luthman Author Of Gloria and the Unicorn

From my list on kids with disabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and I currently work as a High School Guidance Counselor for the past 25 years. I love kids and I love helping them to understand and love themselves and helping them to love and accept others as well. These books, even though the target audience is young (0-11 years old), older kids and adults can learn something from them as well. Sometimes a simple message is more powerful than a bunch of words.

Wanda's book list on kids with disabilities

Wanda Luthman Why did Wanda love this book?

This book is a picture book for a younger audience. Can you imagine being born deaf but no one around you knows it? That's what this book shows through a Bear who isn't responding to his friends when they speak to him. Fortunately, his Dad figures it out and takes him to a doctor where he is fitted with hearing aids. This book will help children that are deaf and their friends who may not always understand what it's like to be deaf.

By Raymond Antrobus, Polly Dunbar (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Can Bears Ski? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The debut children's book from Ted Hughes award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus that tracks a father-and-son journey into the discovery and management of deafness.

This new paperback edition includes an illustrated BSL alphabet.

Boy Bear cannot hear Dad Bear coming to wake him up in the morning but he can feel the floor vibrate with his heavy footsteps. He can only grasp little bits of what his teacher says to him at school. He cannot catch what his friends are laughing at. And, all the time, Boy Bear keeps hearing the question, "Can Bears ski?" What does it mean? With the…


Book cover of Hanukkah Bear

Gloria Koster Author Of Dance the Hora, Isadora

From my list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a school and public librarian as well as a writer. I also serve as a member of the Children’s Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education. We review hundreds of books each year for consideration of a place on our list –The Best Children’s Books of the YearI've chosen to recommend some lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters or themes because a number of my own books fit into this category. Mitzi’s Mitzvah, Little Red Ruthie, and Dance the Hora, Isadora! are three of my Jewish themed books. Each of these titles has been selected by PJ Library, an organization that sends a book each month to children.

Gloria's book list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters

Gloria Koster Why did Gloria love this book?

I always recommend this genius book as a wonderful companion to my own Hanukkah book. The young audience is always one step ahead of the old woman in Kimmel’s story, and this engages them from the start all the way through to the comforting end. There’s an old-fashioned folktale-like quality to this story which makes it a sure winner!

By Eric A. Kimmel, Mike Wohnoutka (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hanukkah Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Bubba Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller.

Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, and on the first night of Hanukkah, the scent of her cooking wakes a hungry, adorable bear from his hibernation.  He lumbers into town to investigate, and Bubba Brayna—who does not see or hear very well—mistakes him for her rabbi. She welcomes the bear inside to play the dreidel game, light the menorah, and enjoy a scrumptious meal.

However, after her well-fed guest leaves, there's a knock at the door—it's the…


Book cover of The Bear's Toothache

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Sweeper: A Buddhist Tale

From my list on to cheer you up and get you to look around.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in suburbia—or urban sprawl—with fairytales and children’s nonfiction series like Lands and Peoples. My passion for reading (and history and art museums) nurtured my sense of wonder and awe at the richness of the world. I was inspired to write nonfiction about heroic people by my own children, whose social studies education lacked dazzle and examples of heroism. I had already been creating educational materials for schools, but I wanted to inspire their wonder about and appreciation of the world. My kids are grown, but I’m still writing for young readers. An avid world traveler and historian, I've always aspired to bring other people, places, cultures, and times to life.

Rebecca's book list on to cheer you up and get you to look around

Rebecca Hazell Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love this book for its wacky humor, its kindness, and its great illustrations.

The sleepy dad’s hair sticking up always makes me smile. Not to mention the bear trying to hide under the bed, which is smaller than he is. And I love its gentle sympathy for the clumsily helpful child and the suffering and then grateful bear.

By David McPhail,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bear's Toothache as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

When he discovers a bear with a toothache outside his window, a little boy tries to think of ways of removing the tooth.


Book cover of If I Were a Bear

Terry Pierce Author Of Eat Up, Bear!

From my list on bear books toddlers can sink their teeth into.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of 25 children’s books, and I recently moved to a small mountain town that has come to co-exist with wild black bears by learning how to properly store and dispose of our food (rather than the alternative, which was to eliminate the bears!). Ever since I’ve lived there, I’ve been fascinated by human-bear interactions, having a few of my own now! When Yosemite Conservancy put out a call for children’s stories, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about—how people can help keep bears safe and wild through proper food storage. I’m a huge advocate for bears and all wildlife!

Terry's book list on bear books toddlers can sink their teeth into

Terry Pierce Why did Terry love this book?

What I found most enjoyable about If I Were a Bear is that it uses a rhyming text to share simple facts about various Alaskan bears. It’s a lovely combination of lyrical writing and nonfiction, with soft watercolor illustrations by Erik Brooks. Young children love hearing rhyming texts (their brains actually need rhythm and patterns for healthy development!), so whenever I find a book with well-written rhyme that conveys factual information, it’s a winner in my book!

By Shelley Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If I Were a Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author and illustrator of If I Were a Whale and If I Were A Bird, comes this colorful, rhyming board book that playfully features bears found in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. Beautiful watercolor illustrations of bears of all sizes are sure to delight readers young and old.

Toddlers will love this fun introduction to bears, in this beautifully illustrated board book that shares facts about these amazing animals in an imaginative way.

If I were a polar bear
my ears would be small,
my feet would be furry,
I'd have barely any tail at all.


Book cover of The Truth About Bears: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals

Joan Holub Author Of Bears Are Best! The scoop about how we sniff, sneak, snack, and snooze!

From my list on bears with funny facts and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

The truth? I’m scared of bears! But learning about them has helped me become a less fearful hiker. Turns out, bears spread seeds and salmon nutrients in their droppings. They also help maintain populations of prey species like deer. I don’t want those jobs. So, thank you, bears! The more kids learn about wildlife, the more comfortable they’ll be outdoors. And the better planet citizens they’ll become! Beyond bears, I’ve authored 200+ children’s books, writing everything from Greek Mythology take-offs (Goddess Girls middle grade series of 30 books) to math (Zero the Hero picture book) to a fractured fairy tale about how to write a story (Little Red Writing)!

Joan's book list on bears with funny facts and friendship

Joan Holub Why did Joan love this book?

Eaton’s bear book does a nice job of blending simple nonfiction info about bears with the occasional bear joke.

For instance, within a two-page spread on bear safety, he combines fact blurbs with some silly speech bubbles. His bear characters are simply drawn and appealing, and the pages are colorful. If your young readers like this one, consider trying his other books on Hippos, Butterflies, Elephants as well!

By Maxwell Eaton III,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth About Bears as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Did you know that polar bears smell seals through the ice and snow in order to find and eat them? Did you know that when a bear is born, it weighs less than a picture book? Did you know that bears sleep all winter and don't goto the bathroom while they hibernate? Discoverthese facts and many more in this nonfiction picture -book series that injects humour and bright, vivid animals into popular subjects like bears and hippos.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in bears, etiquette, and African Americans?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bears, etiquette, and African Americans.

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