Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
AuthorBill Martin Jr.
IllustratorEric Carle
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherDoubleday & Company
Publication date
Published in English
Media typeHardcover

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a children's picture book published in 1967.[1] Written and illustrated by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle, the book is designed to help toddlers associate colors and meanings to objects.


The book itself has little to no plot. Instead, the narrator asks various animals what they see with the response usually being another animal, the respondent is then asked what they themselves see, and the process is repeated. It features a Brown Bear, a Red Bird, a Yellow Duck, a Blue Horse, a Green Frog, a Purple Cat, a White Dog, a Black Sheep, a Goldfish (Orange Fish), a school teacher, and children. The 1984 British edition of the book subs a monkey for the teacher. Carle explained that variations in text between editions (mostly on the last page) were due to Martin, and that he made new illustrations to go with the changes.[2] The 1970 edition includes a Grey Mouse in-between the Blue Horse and the Green Frog, and a Pink Elephant in-between the Purple Cat and the White Dog.[citation needed]


Carle and Martin published three spin-off books: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (1991)[3] (uses animals from the zoo and animal sounds), Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? (2003),[4], (which focuses on endangered species), and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? (2007),[5] (which focuses on North American/forest animals).

Missouri Governor John Ashcroft and First Lady Barbara Bush with a "Parents as Teachers" group at the Greater St. Louis Ferguson-Florissant School District in October 1991. Mrs. Bush (in a rocking chair) is reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear to the children.


The book was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[6] As of 2013, it ranked 21st on a Goodreads list of "Best Children's Books,"[7] and the publisher claimed that there were "7 million copies in print in various formats and languages."[8]

In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education briefly removed the book from the public school curriculum after confusing the author with philosopher Bill Martin, author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.[9]


  1. ^ List of Books by Eric Carle
  2. ^ Brown Bear Tells a Story, Eric Carle's Blog, June 9, 2010
  3. ^ Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
  4. ^ Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
  5. ^ Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?
  6. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Archived from the original on August 2, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "Best Children's Books". Goodreads. 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Book & CD Set)". Macmillan Publishers. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  9. ^ "Name confusion gets kid's author banned from Texas curriculum". Dallas Morning News. January 25, 2010. Archived from the original on February 16, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2010.