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Berlioz the Bear Paperback – October 15, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"This winning balance between high style and fun will amuse and amaze readers again and again," said PW. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- A wonderful blending of elements into a cohesive, thoroughly entertaining work that subtly introduces young readers to the world of music. While practicing, Berlioz the Bear detects a strange buzzing noise coming from his double bass. On the way to the concert with the rest of the bear band, he is so preoccupied with the sound that he accidently runs the wagon into a hole. The lead animal, a mule, refuses to budge, despite a series of animals who unsuccessfully try to pull the wagon out. At that moment, what should fly out of Berlioz's bass but a very angry bee that takes out its frustration on the mule's hindquarters. The sting does what the other animals failed to do; the wagonload of musicians goes careening into the village at full speed and arrives just in the nick of time. In tone, Brett's cumulative story has elements of traditional folklore, and her spare text begs to be read aloud. Her pen-and-ink, watercolor, and colored-pencil illustrations are richly, often humorously, detailed, and they sweep over each double-page spread. The brushwork is distinct, and the palette is a well-organized blend of earth tones with touches of red and blue. The artist's penchant for borders is evident, here taking the shape of a proscenium arch. The top portion of each arch shows the villagers' preparations for the performance while the side panels depict various animals enroute to the concert. The borders, manner of dress for the animals, and scenery all have a distinct flavor of traditional Austrian and Swiss culture. --Denise Anton Wright, Library Book Selection Service, Inc., Bloomington, IL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 0540 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (October 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698113993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698113992
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jan Brett is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gingerbread Friends, The Three Snow Bears, and The Mitten, as well as many other classics. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on September 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Brett delivers another book that is richly illustrated and holds the attention of young children.
The story is a simple tale of a bear and his band on their way to a concert. The wagon gets stuck and a menagerie of creatures tries to get them out of their rut. It introduces a number of different animals, which aided our two year old in identifying about a dozen of the "must know" four legged creatures.
The illustrations accompanying Brett's story are terriffic, with vivid colors and rich detail. Each page also has sidebars that foreshadow what's coming next and what has just happened. This prooves to be an excellent technique to keep youngsters in tune with the tale.
My children like it, almost as much as Brett's other book, "The Mitten." A good purchase for the 2-6 year old set.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
My daughter and I love to read and re-read this picture book, looking at all the humorous moments of Berlioz and his Bear Band's trip to a town dance and the side pictures of other animal couples journeying to the celebration. We keep this beautifully illustrated book on display on our living room book case. We have all of Jan Brett's books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Trent Dougherty on July 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a cute little story. Berlioz is late for a concert and having trouble with his double bass to boot (a strange and unwanted buzzing noise accompanies his playing). The bandwagon gets stuck in a pot hole and the draft donkey just won't budge. A series of animals in increasing order of size and strength--from a rooster to an ox--think they are the solution, but all fail to move the donkey. In a surprising twist we discover the source of Berlioz' bass's buzzing and the donkey suddenly finds motivation. As a result, they make it on time and we learn that the ability to effect change does not always depend on size and strength. Very nicely illustrated. Each lavish page is framed with marginal drawings which show you the country folk gathering at the village in preparation for Berlioz' concert. This is a nice touch and heightens the drama. There's something almost Aesopian about this delightful book. Highly recommended; a great bed-time story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CanadianMother on June 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
My 5 year-old daughter loves this book. Not only are the illustrations fascinating and detailed as in all of Brett's books, but the story is very charming and funny. The surprise ending will make you and your child giggle for certain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lmdmusicmaker on January 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am a general music teacher and love to read this book to my younger students usually first or second grade. It is good for recalling and sequencing. It also teaches what an encore is and some of the instruments especially the bass. The encore tells of how Berlioz performs The Flight of the Bumble Bee by Rimsky-Korsakov. I then go ahead and play the music of Flight of the Bumble Bee as program music. The kids love the story and The Flight of the Bumble Bee music. It is a great lesson for the beginning of the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Some of my students over the years have found the illustrations a bit too busy, but they love the story of the bear and his musical friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kino on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great story as well as illustrations, one that has a moral for children and would be a great addition to anyones library
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