by Hannah Carmack, STEM Read Creative Content Contributor
BunnyBear is the perfect read for anyone who’s ever felt a little different.
This short and sweet picture book, written by Andrea J. Loney with illustration by Carmen Saldaña, is great for readers of any age and touches on topics such as taxonomy, animal behavior, mathematics, and social-emotional learning. The writing is easy-to-understand but also vivid, and the illustrations are incredibly cute and masterfully colored.
The story follows Bunnybear, a bear who enjoys hopping through fields and scavenging for berries more than he enjoys stomping around and hunting for fish. Because he is unlike other bears, Bunnybear feels left out in his forest community, so he goes searching for a place where he can fit in.
With a good message at its heart, Bunnybear is perfect for classroom use. Educators can not only use the text to introduce taxonomy but also to talk about how not all animals are easy to classify.
For a classroom activity, consider having your students name the multiple levels of taxonomy and then classify all the critters Bunnybear meets on his journey through the woods. They may find that some animals are much easier to place than others. Have students explore which behaviors are typical for these animals and which behaviors make them different from other animals.
Another fun activity that can be pulled from the text revolves around hopping, stomping, and measurement. In this activity, have students act out how they imagine certain animals walk. Then, provide students with how far those animals actually travel per step. This could be a great way to introduce measuring tools, units of measurement, and variance.
Perhaps the biggest classroom connection you can make with Bunnybear centers on social emotional learning. During multiple times throughout the text, Bunnybear’s identity is questioned. He is cast out by other bears and by the bunnies he so admires. Have students consider how this may make Bunnybear feel: Why is casting him out and telling him to change who he is wrong? How does Bunnbear create his own identity? What impact does it have on the forest community?
Overall, Bunnybear is a sweet book with a heartfelt message and is sure to delight readers young and old.